The Watchdog

July 16, 2014

3-Trails Crossing sign seems to make no sense

Bill Keller says a sign on westbound I-470 points to markers that aren’t there, but MoDOT says many markers remain in place. The agency will review the southeast Kansas City interchange, however, to see if any sign adjustments are needed.

The problem

As if the Handsome Hound isn’t edifying enough all year round, today he will ponder the word anachronism.

It’s defined as something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially something from the past that doesn’t belong.

Bill Keller thinks he’s found at least one on westbound Interstate 470 at the 3-Trails Crossing in southeast Kansas City.

It’s a large blue sign that advises motorists to provide a zone number to dispatchers in case of an emergency. Trouble is, Keller says, those zone signs disappeared during the reconstruction of what used to be known as the Grandview Triangle, where Interstates 470 and 435 meet U.S. 71.

“MoDOT should either put all those back or take down the sign announcing you should use the nonexistent direction finders,” said Keller, who lives in Pleasant Hill.

The answer

The Missouri Department of Transportation said the department and Kansas City Scout continue to use the zone signs, which were first installed when the department began overhauling the interchange in 2000.

“The signs were initially proposed by a Kansas City Police Department officer who saw a need to aid dispatchers and emergency responders in determining the location of incidents in the complex interchange,” said department spokesman Steve Porter. “It proved highly successful.”

Signs were removed and added as construction progressed, Porter said, but the department is reviewing the remaining signs to determine whether any adjustments are needed.

“We encourage anyone who is in a crash or has a breakdown to look forward or backward for the closest blue sign and give dispatchers that information,” Porter said. “By the way, the old Grandview Triangle — which was neither in Grandview nor a triangle — disappeared in 2007 when the 3-Trails Crossing fully opened.”

Speaking of anachronisms, the Watchdog is becoming more of one every day.

Do you have a problem or a question about a public issue? Write to the Watchdog, The Kansas City Star, Newsroom, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108, or send email to Include your name, phone number and city of residence.

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