The federal government is helping to upgrade an intersection near the Springfield subway. It is expected to mobilize $28 million in private investment.

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery bill known as America’s Bailout is funding a wide variety of local projects — from helping small businesses to making hypersonic weapons.

The Economic Development Administration’s latest grant is for repairing a tricky intersection near one of Springfield’s busiest economic hubs – Springfield Underground. It brings much-needed improvements to Division Street and Le Compte Road, says Jason Ray. He is executive director of the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments.

“So widening Le Compte and improving the intersection at Division and Le Compte will allow truck traffic to enter and exit the facility much better, says Ray.

For years, Ray and his organization lobbied for the federal money, which is supplemented by $1.6 million in local funds. He says that by turning Le Compte Road into a three-lane thoroughfare, operations at Springfield Underground will run more smoothly. He says two-thirds of Springfield Underground’s traffic passes through this intersection.

Ray says: “At the moment it’s a very narrow road with very narrow gravel shoulders and very sharp turns at the intersection, so we sometimes see trucks going off the road which then closes the road for that they take care of remedying this incident, and therefore it causes a real backlog and a bottleneck for the underground installation itself.

94 jobs, $28 million in new investments planned

By making operations at Springfield Underground more efficient, Ray and the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments say the road improvements are expected to create 94 jobs and generate $28 million in private investment.

The road upgrade would also open the door to new development on dozens of surface acres above Springfield Underground. And it would generate new tax revenue to support public education and other public services.

“So I think there is a huge economic potential that can also be tapped through this project. And that’s a huge plus for Springfield Public Schools. It was just brought to my attention yesterday by one of our state legislators that the underground facility is the only industrial park located in the Springfield Public Schools District,” Ray said.

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