Lane closures at Broadway and 4th in Pittsburg start Nov. 30

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Drivers will run into some lane closures at Broadway and 4th Street in Pittsburg starting tomorrow.

Mission Construction will be doing a sub-surface repair patch in the center of the intersection. Crews will shift traffic starting Tuesday, November 30, 2021. The City of Pittsburg is letting motorists know that this work will interfere with normal traffic patterns.

Crews will block off the area in the intersection, closing center lanes. During the project, traffic on Broadway and 4th Streets will be unable to turn left. Drivers will still be able to turn right onto Broadway or 4th Street.

According to the City, the contractor hopes to finish this section of concrete patching by the end of the week.

“Please drive with caution, take alternate routes when possible and be aware of workers in the work zone. The City of Pittsburg appreciates the community’s patience as this work is performed,” releases the City of Pittsburg.


Sinkhole closes down a portion of Junge Blvd

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – A sinkhole is blocking off part of Junge Boulevard in Jasper County, Missouri.

The Joplin Special Road District started taking calls yesterday about a dip in the road. It’s on Junge Blvd between Central City and Black Cat Road. That area of the road is closed.

They believe a mineshaft opened underneath. Although the asphalt was still up, there was a void underneath. Everything under it was washed away. So, the road surface was all people were driving on. Today, crews are pumping water out of the sinkhole to see how deep it goes. After that, they’ll dig it out and then fill it in.

Tom Muskrat with the Joplin Special Road District says doesn’t believe it will grow. “No, I think it’s going to be just a maybe a 4×4 foot mineshaft. We will have to cap it off with cement. But it may be a day or two before we get it all finished being Thanksgiving.”


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Related: MoDOT opens Roundabout at 171/96/YY in Carl Junction


Roundabout near Carl Junction is now open (Highway 171, 96 and Route YY)

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – The roundabout at Highway 171, 96 and Route YY by Carl Junction is now open to traffic.

Contractor crews finished work and opened the roundabout to traffic this afternoon.

Jasper County Route YY is open only in the eastbound direction. Due to safety reasons, they still have westbound Route YY closed. According to MoDOT, they will open it at a later date.

Drivers could still encounter periodic lane closures as crews wrap up minor work and clean up.

You can see a video from MoDOT about the layout below.

Traffic Impacts According to MoDOT:

  • Roundabout at Missouri Route 171, Missouri Route 96 and eastbound Jasper County Route YY is OPEN
  • Jasper County Route YY is CLOSED to westbound traffic at the roundabout
  • Drivers on Route 171 and Route 96 cannot turn west onto Route YY
  • Drivers may encounter periodic lane closures
  • Check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map for road closings/traffic impacts

Workers started on the roundabout in June. MoDOT wanted to relocate the intersection to the east, away from the Kansas City Southern railroad tracks and convert the intersection to a multi-lane roundabout.

In addition, crews resurfaced an approximately 26-mile stretch of Route 171 between the Missouri/Kansas state line and I-49.

Related Headline: Sinkhole closes down a portion of Junge Blvd

J7P3262_Route171_Public Involvement Aerial Display_Revised


Galena welcomes Lightning McQueen to town

GALENA, Kan. – Lightning McQueen is now calling Galena, Kansas home.

A number of folks gathered at the famous Luigi’s Pit Stop on Front Street over the weekend.

Luigi’s has been home to a number of the Cars movie replicas – from the tractor tippin’ to the sheriff looking over everything.

Kids and parents can go check it out at 205 East Front Street in Galena.


PSU College of Technology gives insight into careers

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Today was a heads-up for college students as organizers laid out career options and industry needs.

The College of Technology at Pittsburg State University hosted an Open House and Expo.

Hundreds of high school and community college students from across the region attended the event. Careers showcased include automotive, technology, engineering technology, graphics and imaging technologies, technology and workforce learning, and construction.

You can learn more here.

Open House Schedule for KTC at PSU – Nov. 2021


Road closure at Highway 171 and 96 for new roundabout

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – Crews close the intersection of State Highway 171 and Highway 96, north of Carl Junction.

MoDOT is working to finish the new roundabout. The closure affects all directions of traffic at the intersection. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office says the project is scheduled to be finished within the next 60 days.

Contractor crews will relocate the intersection at Missouri Route 171/Route 96 and Jasper County Route YY to the east and convert the intersection to a multi-lane roundabout. In addition, an approximately 26-mile stretch of Route 171 between the Missouri/Kansas state line and I-49 will be resurfaced.

Drivers can take alternate routes of travel. There are detours that direct traffic onto county roadways, like CR 284 and Kafir Road. The Sheriff’s Office says school buses are making their stops on these roads. People are also entering and exiting driveways along those routes.

“After receiving numerous complaints of speeding on these detour routes we are asking residents to please slow down and drive attentively. In order to encourage this, sheriff’s deputies, will be running radar and writing speeding citations and warnings along the detour routes,” stated the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office on social media.

You can find more details on the project here.


I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector opens Oct. 1

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. – Crews complete the final five miles of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector. The public can begin using it starting Friday, October 1, 2021.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to help celebrate its completion. The Missouri and Arkansas Departments of Transportation and Governors Mike Parson and Asa Hutchinson will host it.

The ceremony will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 30. It will be on the new I-49 lanes at the Missouri/Arkansas state line. If you plan to attend and are traveling from the Missouri side, enter from the Route 90 access point. You can follow the signs and directions from crew members along the route.

MoDot released the following documents on the ribbon cutting.

Arkansas, Missouri, and federal transportation officials have been discussing this connector for more than 25 years. The $70.3 million project in Missouri relocated the four-lane divided highway to the west of the existing US Route 71. It includes a new interchange at Route 90 west of Jane.

A $25 million federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant helped fund the project.

Now that the connector is completed, I-49 stretches 290 miles between Kansas City and Fort Smith, Arkansas. This final stretch is five miles long.

You can find more information on the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector here.


AAA: Pandemic prompts more to get travel insurance

PITTSBURG, Kan. – A new AAA Travel survey finds that more people will be getting travel insurance due to the pandemic.

Before the end of next year, more than half (55%) of American adults are planning at least a one-night vacation. That’s according to the survey. But, nearly one-third (31%) of them say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance for those trips because of COVID-19.

“The survey very much reflects what AAA travel advisors are experiencing. Travelers are still booking trips for this year, into next year and even into 2023 and 2024,” says Micki Dudas, director of leisure travel sales for AAA. “Travel insurance provides them with the peace of mind to do so – more valuable than ever in light of the pandemic.”

Recent AAA Travel bookings have increased 11% over 2019 levels, and interest in travel insurance has increased in turn. AAA’s travel insurance sales have increased more than double digits year-over-year, as members return to travel and see the value of protecting that investment.

Travel Insurance Benefits

Travelers cite the ability to cancel a trip and get a refund as the frequently the benefit of travel insurance. They say 69 percent of those travelers add this is the most important to them when considering travel insurance for an upcoming trip.

AAA advises these travelers to look into travel insurance policies that include a “cancel for any reason” component. It could offer more flexibility and protection in the event a traveler needs to cancel their trip.

Plans to Cover some losses

While travel insurance policies have historically not covered epidemics or pandemics, in response to shifting consumer expectations, some providers have started to introduce plans that cover some losses due to COVID-19 or other epidemic diseases. AAA recommends travelers consult the expertise of a knowledgeable travel advisor to help plan their trips and evaluate the various travel insurance options available.

The Right Travel Insurance Policy

Choosing the right policy is important. Increasingly, travelers want policies that protect against common covered reasons for trip cancellations and interruptions. They also want it to cover other travel-related incidents including change fees, delays or lost/damaged luggage, to name a few.

International Travel

Also, it’s important to note that some international destinations may require visitors to carry travel insurance. One reason, to help cover any unexpected medical costs that may be incurred while visiting. A knowledgeable travel advisor can help travelers navigate these and other evolving travel requirements.

AAA encourages all travelers to ‘know before you go.’ They advise being well-versed on all travel restrictions that might be relevant to your destination and/or any stops along the way.

Travel Advisors

The AAA Travel survey also found that six in 10 Americans (60%) see the benefit of working with a travel advisor. Travelers’ top benefits of working with a travel advisor reflect the important role they play in today’s more complex travel environment, including:

  • To save time when researching or planning a vacation (40%)
  • For help with complicated new travel restrictions/requirements (34%)
  • To find the best deals (33%)

“Travel insurance options vary greatly, but a knowledgeable travel advisor can help you navigate through those complexities,” continued AAA’s Dudas. “A trusted travel advisor serves as your advocate before and during your trip. Partnering with a travel advisor to review your travel insurance options offers another level of protection, so you can focus on making lifelong vacation memories.”

AAA Travel advisors are available to help members evaluate travel options and plan their vacations, when they are ready. You can get more information and get started at AAA.com/Travel.


AAA conducted the survey from August 13–15, 2021. They used a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without Internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,126 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 2.9% at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error for U.S. travelers is 3.9% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups have larger error margins.


Joplin car dealership works with low inventory as chip-shortage wares on industry

JOPLIN, Mo. – Shoppers looking for a good deal, or even decent deal, on a new vehicle over Labor Day weekend may have been disappointed once they got to dealership lots.

“Normally this time of year there’s large rebates to help you move inventory. But the manufacturers don’t have to put those big rebates on them right now because inventory’s so slim,” says Moony Starr, Chief Operating Officer of Skyway Auto Group.

On Monday, there was only nine new vehicles on the sales lot at Skyway Buick GMC in Joplin, when they would normally have between 40 and 50.

“I never see lots completely full of new cars again. Because they [manufacturers] make more money with less cars on the ground,” says Starr.

Parts shortages for new vehicles continue to plague the industry, with the Associated Press reporting several Asian countries that house the main producers of semi-conductors being hit hard with the COVID-19 delta variant. Because of the parts shortfall, General Motors and Ford have both announced one to two week closures of their manufacturing plants. Toyota has announced last month that they would be scaling back production by at least 40% in Japan and North America for two months.

Analysts say the high prices and low inventories will more than likely last until 2023.

“The biggest challenge that we have is losing customers who’ve purchased from here over the years. They want another truck or a Buick Envision, or whatever it might be, we can’t get it,” says Starr. “We want to sell to you. It’s not that we don’t want to, we can’t get it. And there’s no dealer trading because if they have it, they’re gonna keep it and sell it, and vice versa.”

“I ordered one not too long ago, and we were supposed to have it in the beginning of August and it came in around the end,” says Cody Jackson, a salesman at Skyway Buick GMC. “The customer was a little frustrated at us, and there was just nothing we could do.”

So Skyway — and other dealers — are relying on preowned vehicles. But Starr anticipates the supply of used vehicles could go down, especially in the coming months, after Hurricane Ida destroys hundreds of vehicles.

“There’s rental companies that put a lot of cars out on the streets. Say our guy that we buy from is out of Springfield. They’re not gonna have any. They’re gonna ship em all to Louisiana,” says Starr. “Prices are gonna go out the roof, and they’re gonna be slimmer than they have been.”

So what can you do if you have to buy a new vehicle? Starr says to look at the window sticker for any added charges that you can negotiate, and don’t feel like you have to purchase a new vehicle that’s over MSRP.

“Yeah, you’re paying more for your car right now when the market’s up, but who knows the future? This could be the future,” says Starr.

According to Black Book, used vehicle prices on average have climbed 30 percent in the last year.


Resurfacing on U.S. 69 in Crawford County to start in August

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Drivers can expect delays in August on U.S. 69 and U.S. 69B in Crawford County.

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will begin a resurfacing project on Monday, August 2, 2021.

Crews will mill and overlay on U.S. 69 between U.S. 400 and K-47, excluding the section within Pittsburg city limits. KDOT will also resurface U.S. 69B through the communities of Franklin and Arma.

According to KDOT, workers will start on U.S. 69B and then proceed south on U.S. 69 from the K-47 junction.

Flaggers and a pilot car will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone. Drivers can expect delays of 15 minutes or less.

Weather permitting, KDOT expects the project to be finished by early September.

KDOT awarded the construction contract of $2.3 million to Heckert Construction, Pittsburg.