I always considered the second left-hand turn lane on exit ramp off of I-29 to Highway 92 to be my little secret. Of course, I’m not the only one who knows to go two-wide when headed into Platte City from the north, but circumventing the traffic, especially for a quick trip into the QuikTrip, always supplied me with a bit of smug pleasure. The other out-of-town suckers would pile up on the left-hand side of the intersection with those at the back at risk of having to sit through — GASP! — two light cycles.
The tragedy of it all.
This past summer, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODoT) briefly closed down the entrance and exit ramps at I-29 and 92 and did some upkeep. That included a fresh paint job to notate two distinct turn lanes.
The secret became much less secret.
Probably for the best anyway. Traffic congestion is often an issue there, and unaware drivers would occasionally situate right down the middle and constrict the traffic flow.
Increased population and the accompanying traffic continues to change the layout of I-29 and its on and off ramps. Two public hearings are slated in the next month for a look at construction projects at NW 72nd and NW 64th streets to drastically modify those interchanges.
In September, the fancy new diverging diamond interchange (DDI) at Tiffany Springs Parkway officially opened.
There’s little doubt that once-tiny Platte County continues to outgrow its original transportation infrastructure. This has forced engineers to come up with some fancy solutions to try and circumvent the problems without creating too much additional confusion for too long during construction.
Designed in France, the DDI took two years to complete and created confusion in the interim. The confusion persisted for some unfamiliar with the design, and an official told our reporter at the opening that a driver needs to go through the setup about three times before feeling comfortable.
That guy was not wrong. I still don’t like using it.
The plans at 64th and 72nd streets call for a couple of roundabouts, and that’s just what we need more of in this county. They do seem to help, but not everyone seems to understand them very well. Maybe a few more will help foster familiarity.
Along 64th Street, the roundabout is set to go in at the next intersection up, which is North Chatham Avenue. You will probably recognize the McDonald’s and Hen House Market on one side and the Hy-Vee on the other at that location.
These will not be minor changes, and the coming years will likely see a reworking of the ramps at HH Highway in northern Platte City.
We’ll learn more about these projects and the details but expect delays while traversing the main arterial roadway of this county. Allow for a little extra time to acclimate and reach your destination.
There will be plenty to get used to with all of these changes. It certainly won’t be as familiar as maybe they once were.
My main issue with the DDI is fear of myself or some other confused driver missing a sign and going the wrong way. I know I can’t be alone in that.
Roundabouts upset me because all drivers seem to careen through them at top speed with little awareness to who else might be entering or exiting the circle.
I can really tell my 32nd birthday is approaching. I seem to be developing some of that crotchety mentality of elders.
It’s better the way it used to be. Why couldn’t they just leave it be?
Well, there’s certainly a reason for all of these updates and modifications. Platte County is getting bigger. We say it all of the time because it’s true.
Plus, when I really sit down and give some of these ideas rational thought, I can see that the old way wasn’t always safe. I just knew how to navigate.
You could speed up the exit ramp to 92 headed for that coveted open right lane only to have another motorist try to do the same, except with no warning and going from a direct stop. I’ve also narrowly avoided the guard rail when a driver oblivious to the lane of traffic to their right attempted a merger to make their own quick trip to QuikTrip while nearly modifiying the driver side of my vehicle.
There are advantages to knowing the secrets of your travel route, but you can’t account for what those who don’t know will do.
Maybe the additional signage and altered routes will be OK.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.