Finley River Park entrance from Riverside Road

The Ozark Board of Aldermen may consider a bill to make the entry to the Turner Landing Access at Finley River Park one way, right-turn-only from Riverside Road.

If it’s summertime, it’s construction time. Ozark residents will face some inconveniences over the next few months. 

If you are aggravated by the traffic patterns around Finley River Park, your angst may grow even worse, at least during some utility work. 

Jeremy Parsons, Ozark’s public works director, apprised the board of aldermen June 3 of four major projects that are on tap.

“We are getting ready to kick into high gear,” Parsons said.

The projects include an extension of a water main between West Jackson Street and West McCracken Road through the Bass Pro Shops’ Finley Farms development area.

“We will be extending a water main through that area prior to Bass Pro (construction),” Parsons said. “This was planned well before Bass Pro ever platted that land.”

Next is what Parsons called the Third Street tie-in that will connect water pressure plains.

“This is something we talked about for years,” Parsons said. “We finally have all the engineering complete.” 

The pressure plain project will connect the water main from East Hartley Street in south Ozark along Third Street all the way downtown to Church Street. Parsons warned the mayor and aldermen that there would be complaints about traffic. The work will be conducted by a contractor.

“This is a major undertaking,” Parsons said. “Our guys will not be doing this construction. We’ve got some tight areas where we have to be very precise. Be prepared for that over the coming months. 

“The importance of this is that it ties in the southern pressure plain to the central pressure plain. By tying the plains together, you immensely increase fire protection capabilities and it also sets the stage for additional development along the riverfront.”

Another project later in the season will be raising the Riverside Inn sewage lift station out of the flood plain so that it can be operational during floods, Parsons said.

“It will be raised and a walkway (built) to get to that during high water,” he said. “We are shooting for sometime at the end of July.”

Lastly, Parsons said a major paving operation would begin in Ward 2 near the Century Pines Assisted Living Center on East McCracken Road. Parsons said the city would hold a community meeting at the Neil and Betty Grubaugh Park to explain the project to neighborhood residents.

“We are going to be disrupting that neighborhood for a while,” Parsons said. 

In light of those projects, Mayor Rick Gardner asked what could be done to alleviate the traffic problem on Riverside Road near a three-way intersection at the park entrance.

“It is a problem,” he said. “Traffic just locks up…when people are trying to get in and out of the park area. When people are bringing their kids to summer programs or just softball, it can be literally a gridlock …people cannot move in any direction. “

City Administrator Steve Childers said one solution would be to redirect the traffic by prohibiting a left turn into the Turner Landing Access at Finley River Park. Drivers would need to travel further north up Riverside Road and turn into the park by the soccer and baseball fields.

 “An immediate solution is to close that access (to left turns) and make it a right –out only,” Childers said. “(We could) redirect everyone to the north. The big improvements are coming in the next few years.”

Parsons said because that is the access to the Turner Landing, making traffic modifications would require consulting with the Ozark Special Road District and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 

“That’s not to say it cannot be done,” Parsons said. 

Gardner said something needed to be done, especially with the coming construction.

“We need something to alleviate that problem if we are going to add(…) other things,” Gardner said. “That is going to slow down traffic in that area.”

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