NEW LONDON, Mo. | Highway engineers are working on plans to improve the safety at a dangerous stretch of U.S. 61 where it intersects with Ralls County Route A.
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission recently voted to fund improvements at the intersection where a number of serious and fatal crashes have occurred.
Missouri Department of Transportation Area Engineer Brian Untiedt said plans call for an interchange on the south end of New London to help drivers safely navigate into or out of town. A median U-turn also will be installed.
MoDOT engineers also are working on upgrades for the U.S. 61/Mo. 19 Interchange.
Contractors will have an opportunity to bid on the projects in March and work is expected to be complete this year.
Brian Schmidt, a driver interviewed by WGEM-TV, said the intersection where Route A and Fifth Street converge with U.S. 61 is dangerous.
“It's very distracting, because you have too many different directions that you have to look at the same time,” Schmidt said.
“There's not enough room in the middle of the intersection for everybody to get across at the same time.You have people coming in and going out at the same time and the speed limit is way too high going through there.”
Troopers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, aided by the Ralls County Sheriff's Department, did traffic stops along that section of U.S. 61 several times in 2019. Many of the drivers were cited for driving 85 mph or faster. Law enforcement officials say further traffic stops may be needed to remind drivers of the speed limit, but a safer highway design should help.