Several change orders approved Friday by the Neosho Transportation Development District (TDD) board of directors will have little effect on the bottom line of the project to develop new roads in western Neosho.

Several change orders approved Friday by the Neosho Transportation Development District (TDD) board of directors will have little effect on the bottom line of the project to develop new roads in western Neosho.

One of the changes, however, will impact transportation flow through the TDD and result in substantial savings, according to TDD Chairman Steve Roark.

The board decided to adjust a planned synchronization of all traffic signals along U.S. Highway 60. The estimate on the original plan to incorporate a hard-wired, fiber-optic cable system to connect all of the lights was about $200,000, Roark noted.

A Springfield engineering firm that does traffic light synchronization projects around the region was hired, he said, and suggested a different radio-controlled system.

“Which is going to save us about $140,000,” he said. “So we will get synchronization of all the lights out there on Highway 60, not only the lights that we’re putting in, but also the existing lights out there all the way from High Street down to Kodiak. Those lights will all be synchronized when our project is done.”

That project includes installation of a DSL communications line that connect to the Springfield office for immediate notification if a problem develops with one of the lights.

“If Springfield decides that they need to alter or change any of the timing on the lights out there, they can actually do that remotely and not have to be down here on location to get it done,” Roark said.

When traveling through other communities, Roark said, those with synchronized signals are easy to identify because motorists aren’t constantly stopping.

“As long as you drive the speed limit, you are able to get right on through,” he said. “You know, we want to be known as a community that is convenient to travel through, and we don’t want people going around Neosho. We want them coming right through Neosho, and we know that a fair share of them are going to stop and do business with us.”

Roark used the example of Range Line in Joplin, which he said he used to avoid because of constant stops. With the same type of system in place, he considers it a breeze to travel that corridor.

Many parents will drive on Highway 60 to get their kids to and from schools, so he promised that they will be able to travel through the intersections without stopping if going the speed limit. Another benefit, he said, is keeping trucks from taking shortcuts off of 60 and onto roads not meant for trucks.

“People will learn very quickly that all they have to do is get on Highway 60 and drive the speed limit, and they’ll go right on through to their destination, be it I-49 to the west or Granby and Diamond to the east,” he said. “We think it is just really a good investment on our roads out there.”

Change orders are necessary when something unexpected pops up as the project moves along, Roark said, such as minor mistakes made on estimates for a multi-million-dollar project.

Two of the change orders Friday were corrections on quantities of materials being used, Roark said. “One of the orders was to do additional work as we had agreed to do at the Mercy Clinic on making sure that we gave them the right number of parking spaces that we had promised. We also had a water line out there that we have to move and increase in size.”

Another change order will provide TDD with a $40,000 credit. “Because we’re going to be able to use some existing shoulders out there on Highway 60, they will not have to be torn up and re-established,” he said. “They are good enough that they can simply be paved over on the turn lanes for the new stoplights there at Laramie and at Adams.”

The net result of the change orders is an approximate increase in costs of $35,000. At the outset when assembling the plan in coordination with the Missouri Department of Transportation, Roark said, MoDOT advised that the TDD try to ensure that estimates come in with no more than a 2 percent variation. At present, the deviation is less than 1 percent.