KELSO, MO (KFVS) - A new interchange being built I-55 and State Highway PP near Kelso, Missouri is starting to take shape.
People who live nearby are eager to see it completed.
Resident engineer Brian Holt with the Missouri Department of Transportation says it will be a typical diamond interchange with no stop lights and just yield signs, and will give drivers a new option for exiting the interstate.
“It will relieve the congestion in Scott City and hopefully move a lot of that traffic to the new interchange where traffic can flow freely,” Holt said.
Bryson Kielhofner lives in Kelso, and drives to Cape Girardeau often. He says he is all too familiar with the ‘hectic’ junction in Scott City and says the new interchange will be worth the wait.
"The traffic can be back up to the stop light if you are going into Scott City all the way up the hill or even if you are just going in all the way to the back up to the exit," Kielhofner said.
Holt says they’ve completed the grading for the on and off ramps and two bridges. One on the east side of the interchange on Highway PP, and the other is on the northbound lane of I-55.
But with progress also comes changes for drivers.
"So we now have head to head traffic in the north bound lanes with one lane in each direction,” Holt said. “We urge everybody to slow down. Take their time, get off their cellphones, and pay attention to what is going on around them so they can get through safely."
Next up, holt says they will start paving the on and off ramps and replacing the bridge on the southbound lanes and the Highway PP overpass.
Taylor Seyer co-owns the only gas station in Kelso. She says the interchange project is negatively impacting her business.
"All of our customers who came from the otherside of pp started going through scott city and getting their fuel there,” Seyer said. Then we had our morning school commutes, people who would come through kelso in the morning for breakfast or our farmers coming through for lunch. Losing a lot of that has been pretty challenging on us."
Seyer hopes that more traffic will come through kelso once everything reopens.
Holt says they plan to complete the new overpass at the interchange by summer 2019.