Signs offering directions to industrial parks, Pilot Truck Stop and Interstate 44 can alleviate the problems created by semi-drivers not familiar with Pacific streets, officials say.
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has been assisting the city in creating the wording and placement of a series of new directional markings at key locations to assist out-of-town drivers before they run into trouble.
For years, semi-drivers who are unacquainted with Pacific streets have turned south on Highway N ending up at the entrance to the Bend Bridge where police have to be dispatched to help them back out to Candlewick Lane where they can turn around.
After the opening of the new eastbound I-44 exchange, drivers who turn east onto Osage in the right lane are often unaware that they will have to be in the left lane at Viaduct Street to reach the Pilot Truck Stop on Thornton Road.
Drivers leaving the truck stop who are trying to return to I-44 are experiencing difficulty in both directions, officials say.
Westbound drivers frequently turn onto Hogan Road, the North Service Road, thinking it will take them to I-44.
Drivers heading east often turn left on Osage Street expecting to use the former eastbound entrance at Payne Street, which was closed when the new exchange opened. When they discover the closed ramp, they look for a place to turn around.
Businesses have been complaining about semi-drivers looking for the route to I-44, making U-turns in their driveways. Subway, Wolf Hardware, Beacon Car Wash and the East Osage Plaza have all experienced the big trucks turning around in their lots.
Explaining the new sign project at the Feb. 5 board of aldermen meeting, Police Chief Matt Mansell said Assistant Chief Larry Cook has been working with MoDOT engineers to alleviate the unnecessary semi-traffic.
“The semi-drivers and local businesses are having some real problems,” Cook said. “When they realize they can’t use the Payne Street entrance they’re turning around in business parking lots damaging the businesses’ parking lots and signs.”
A new sign on Osage, just east of Hardee’s, will notify drivers to continue east to reach I-44, three miles east at Allenton, rather than backtracking to the entrance at LaMar Parkway.
“This seems like a workable solution,” Cook said.
The assistant chief also asked for a second sign, near the Eastern Correctional Facility, saying I-44 is 1 1/2 miles east, to reassure drivers that they are going in the right direction.
A new sign near the westbound ramp on Viaduct Street will direct semi-drivers to the I-44 entrance.
Other signs in the design program include markers on Osage near the eastbound exchange that will notify semi-drivers to get into the left lane for the turn onto Viaduct Street to reach Pilot Truck Stop on Thornton Road.
“The signs are not all up yet,” Mansell said. “But MoDOT is working with us on this so we should see results soon.”