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City and MoDOT begin work on Zora and North Main interchange
Work to build a new interchange at North Main Street (Route 43) and Zora Street is set to begin this week. This is the initial phase of the City of Joplin and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) project that will connect two sections of Zora Street by bridging over the railroad tracks just west of Main Street. It is designed to improve east-west traffic flow on Zora Street across Joplin's north side. It also will accommodate growth on the city's west side.

For the past several weeks, utility crews have been relocating utility lines, and that work will continue. Later this week, construction crews will begin clearing trees and brush on the west side of Main Street. Much of the utility and clearing work will take place AWAY from traffic. The City maintains Zora Street and MoDOT maintain Main Street (Route 43).

The project was initiated by the City of Joplin through the Capital Improvements Sales Tax that voters passed in 2004. Lehman Construction of California, Mo., is the prime contractor. Project cost is $10 million, with MoDOT paying $1 million, and the City paying $3.2 million of the project. Funding from the federal level includes $5.8 million, which was secured by former U.S. Senator Jim Talent.

Travelers will need to use caution throughout this area, as several phases of the project will impact traffic flow. These will include: 

  • Lane closings are possible at times on Main Street.
  • Zora Street will be closed at Missouri Avenue east of Main Street starting in mid-March. It will remain closed until the project's completion in mid-2013.
  • A detour will be marked on Fountain Road, St. Louis Avenue and Broadway Street. Drivers familiar with the city will be able to use other streets to get around the Zora Street closing.
  • Drivers who need to use Zora Street between Missouri Avenue and Main Street will be able to access driveways and other entrances, but will not be able to reach Main Street.
  • Zora Street on the west side of Main Street will be connected into the new interchange in mid-October. At the same time, Veterans Way on the west side of Main Street will be closed permanently.

The Project
The interchange construction involves several major projects and will take approximately 12 months to complete. Upon completion, the interchange will include:
  • A bridge along Zora Street, that crosses over Main Street and the railroad tracks west of Main Street.
  • Exit ramps to connect north and south traffic along Main Street to the newly constructed east/west Zora Street and interchange.
  • A 3-lane road connecting Zora Street west of Main Street to Jasper County’s Lone Elm Road. Traffic going south on Lone Elm will then connect to the intersection of North Schifferdecker Road and Belle Center Road.
  • More efficient traffic flow moving north/south on Highway 43 with on and off exit ramps to Zora Street. Two traffic signals along Main Street, one at Zora Street and one at Veterans Way, will be removed upon interchange completion.

Completion is scheduled for May 2013. This interchange also serves as a first step in connecting to the West Bypass, proposed to follow portions of County Road 290. For more information about the City’s portion of this project, contact Public Works at 417-624-0820, ext. 500.

(For more information, call MoDOT toll-free at 888.275.6636 or 417.895.7600. Visit )

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