Missouri Highway 14 is scheduled to be widened in 2020 as part of a project to improve one of Nixa's main traffic corridors.
Workers are placing new utility poles and transmission lines along Highway 14 in preparation for the road work, which will begin in 2020 on the eastern Highway 14 corridor from Fort Street to Tiffany Boulevard, a distance of about 1.1 miles.
“We’re going to have a five-lane highway, including sidewalk, so it’s very exciting for our community,” Nixa City Administrator Jimmy Liles said.
Plans are done for the first phase of a Highway 14 widening project, which will occur in 2020 on the western side of Highway 14 from Estes Street, which is just west of the U.S. Highway 160 and Highway 14 intersection, to Westminster Drive, which is just west of the Highway 14 intersection with Nicholas Road. The western side of the Highway 14 widening project measurers about 1.3 miles.
New turn lanes will also be placed at intersections such as Nicholas Road, Truman Boulevard and Tiffany Boulevard. There will be traffic shifts as work occurs, but according to MoDOT, two lanes of traffic will be open throughout most of the work.
What most drivers are noticing is the upgrading and relocating of power transmission lines along Highway 14.
In April 2015, the city of Nixa sold its electrical transmission grid to a private company, GridiLiance Holdco.
“The city no longer owns that portion. We own the distribution portion, but not the transportation of electricity to and from Nixa,” Mayor Brian Steele said.
GridiLiance is based in Dallas, Texas, and assumed control of Nixa’s power transmission lines after a $10 million deal gained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 1, 2018.
“That company is actually investing over a million dollars to add those new poles. Part of that is with the widening of Highway 14,” Steele said. “We had to move out of the roadway anyway, so they put these new, high-tech poles in.”
According to a joint news release issued by the city and GridLiance, the company’s application to transfer the assets to its subsidiary, South Central MCN LLC, was approved March 15. The Missouri Public Service Commission granted South Central a certificate to operate as a public utility in Missouri in 2016, the company said in the statement.
Under the agreement, Nixa Utilities will continue to own the distribution lines which go to homes and businesses in Nixa, and customers will continue to pay their electric bills to the city. However, Nixa Utilities will no longer have to maintain the transmission lines which connect the city to the regional grid and power stations where electricity is generated.
Over time, the transaction is projected to generate savings for the Nixa city government.
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the east side of the Nixa Highway 14 project costs an estimated $9.4 million, and the western half costs about $8.4 million.