The recently finished work at U.S. Highway 60 and Kodiak Road, Neosho – which included a new traffic signal – was the subject of a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning.

The ceremony took place on the south side of Kodiak Road, with Neosho Transportation Development District (TDD) board members, officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation and city, county and state officials in attendance.

"It is certainly an important day in the Neosho area for a lot of families and a lot of people," Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Gib Garrow said. "It is a big deal, the ribbon cutting of this new signal."

"It is a pleasure to be a part of this wonderful celebration today," said Becky Baltz, MoDOT district engineer for District 7-Southwest District, in her opening statements.

The project entailed left turn lanes added in both directions on U.S. 60 at Kodiak Road; left turn lanes added in both directions on Kodiak Road at U.S. 60 and a traffic signal installed. The cost for the design and construction was $1 million, with APAC-Missouri of Columbia the primary contractor.

"This has been an identified need on our list for years and years," said Baltz. "And the community agreed a great need for this area. We have had some safety issues at this area for quite some time. It is wonderful to have left turn lanes now…. We will expect to have a lot fewer accidents than we have had in the past and we have had a couple of serious ones here. It is also going to be wonderful when school is in session, the school buses in this area can certainly get in and out of this location a lot easier than they were able to in the past. So a great safety improvement on the roadway."

The need for this traffic signal was reemphasized by TDD chairman Ray Stipp.

"With the high speed traffic on (U.S.) Highway 60, 50-60 mph traffic and then with the Kodiak Road improvements with both Carver Elementary School and Neosho Middle School, that intersection is used a great deal," Stipp said. "It has been very dangerous, there have been accidents that have occurred here in the past, so it has needed intersection improvements and a signal for many years. MoDOT recognized that and they partnered with the district, the TDD, in doing a cost share project, which this is the very first part of that project."
Stipp outlined other projects.

"There would be outer roads constructed as well that would parallel Highway 60 and would provide a way to take a little bit of the traffic off Highway 60," Stipp said. "MoDOT is contributing $2.4 million to that project. Overall, it is $6.9 million project. It would not be possible for if it were not MoDOT's participation. We really appreciate their participation. We think new retail will come and with new retail, comes increased sales for existing retailers. We look forward to working with the city to make sure that this project really gets completed."