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MoDOT plans to widen Route K; adding a signal or roundabout at Notre Dame

T.J. Vandeven, a parent of a Notre Dame student and an engineer, left, discusses one of MoDOT’s proposed options with State Rep. Barry Hovis. Photo by Gregory Dullum

The public turned out Thursday evening at Notre Dame Catholic High School to view several of MoDOT’s options for improving the safety and traffic flow of approximately three miles of Route K (from Walmart to County Road 319), and to offer their input on those options.

MoDOT plans to widen approximately 3 miles of Route K in order to add a center two-way left-turn lane from the Walmart entrance to County Road 319.

Roads that intersect Route K along this stretch of highway will receive right turn lanes. They are Greenbriar Drive, Notre Dame Drive and County Roads 318, 206 and 317 (westbound).

Adding turn lanes will alleviate the chances for rear-end collisions as vehicles slow down on Route K to make turns. Route K has a posted speed limit of 55 mph (slowing to 40 when a light is flashing near the high school entrance).

In addition, there will be two eastbound driving lanes between Notre Dame and Walmart. Westbound Route K will remain one lane. The reason for an added lane on the eastbound side is because people arrive at Notre Dame for school or events at various times, but there is a heavy, steady flow of traffic back into Cape Girardeau when school or events let out, and many vehicles leave at the same time.

Several options are being proposed to improve safety at the entrance to Notre Dame. They involve installing either traffic signals or a roundabout. Some options keep the school entrance at its present location, which is almost directly across from a mobile home park entrance (Park-view) and others involve moving the school entrance either east or west of its present location.

The speed limit on Route K will remain the same, but drivers will be required to slow down for a roundabout. Speed in the roundabout will be 25 mph.

According to MoDOT engineer Chris Crocker, MoDOT’s preferred option is to create a roundabout to the east of the current school entrance. That puts more distance between the school entrance and the mobile home park entrance.

Another option moves the school entrance slightly to the west so both the school entrance and mobile home park would intersect at the roundabout. This option has some construction challenges because of the terrain (hills and ditches in that area).

This option also has some safety challenges. Drivers entering the roundabout from the mobile home park or the school would have to be aware, not only of traffic traveling east and west on Route K, but would have to watch for two lanes of traffic circling in the roundabout as well.

Also, MoDOT thinks truck drivers would have a difficult time navigating the roundabout when they are moving mobile homes into or out of the mobile home park.

MoDOT plans to acquire right of way for the project beginning this fall, and hopes to let the project in the fall of 2025. Construction could begin as early as spring of 2026 and may be completed in the fall of 2026.

The work may be staged, and it is anticipated that traffic will remain open during all phases of construction, with minor lane shifts working under flagger control.

The estimated cost for the project is $8-10 million.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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