Some streets in downtown KC to close for One Direction concert - KCTV5

MoDOT to implement ramp meters to help ease construction traffic congestion

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A warning that getting around downtown with all of the road construction is about to get even worse. With more changes coming that could create even more delays, the Missouri Department of Transportation is going to try something new to reduce traffic problems.

"I hate it. I hate waiting in traffic, it just bugs me," said frustrated driver Sandy Bennett.

In the NASA-like hub of the KC Scout Center, traffic patterns are more than just a headache, they're a science.

"You have to be innovative on how you handle it," said Mark Sommerhauser, transportation project manager with MoDOT.

The newest experiment, coming in early-to-mid-August, is still under wraps. The shrouded ramp meters will turn on at the Southwest Trafficway ramp, when Interstate 35 northbound construction shifts from the left-hand lanes, to the right ones.

"They will have to cut over after they come under this bridge, and merge on to the new deck on that left-hand side," Sommerhauser said.

It's a sharp merge, over what would normally be three lanes of traffic. So transportation employees will make drivers pause at the ramp meters to slow the number of cars crossing at once.

"The idea is just to create small gaps in merging traffic," Sommerhauser said.

Drivers may have seen the system on Interstate 435, but it's the first time it'll be used locally in a construction zone and, unlike I-435, officials won't be able to flush the system through when traffic backs up, and it will.

"You could be backed up for four or five minutes in the queue waiting at the ramp meter," Sommerhauser said.

So MoDOT is encouraging drivers to find other north-south routes - choose your backup - from Southwest Boulevard, to Broadway, Main Street, or the Bruce R. Watkins 71 Highway.

The West Pennway northbound ramp off I-35 will be closed too, all due to the summer of construction.

"If you disrupt an area, you want to get as much done as you can, we don't want to come back three straight years along the same corridor," Sommerhauser said.

Construction crews are working as quickly as they came with 12-hour shifts. They're expecting the entire I-35 project to be done by the end of the year.

The ramp meters should turn on the first or second week in August.

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In anticipation of large crowds comprised of younger fans expected to attend the One Direction concert Friday, the Kansas City Police Department will be closing some streets around the Sprint Center.

Grand Boulevard will close from 13th Street to Truman Road at 6 p.m. (or earlier at the discretion of the police department). The street closure will remain in place until following the concert.

Doors to the Sprint Center are scheduled to open at 6 p.m. with the band Five Seconds of Summer starting about 7:30 p.m. and One Direction should take the stage about 8:30 p.m.

Concert guests who will be dropped off and picked up for the concert should use the Oak Street Entrance located on the east side of Sprint Center. Following the show, all guests waiting to be picked up will be directed to the Oak Street Entrance.

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