Solving the mystery of the white circles in Springfield, Mo.

They’re painted along Kansas Expressway from Norton Road to U.S. 60
Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - KY3 News received a number of questions about circles. They’re painted on the concrete on Kansas Expressway or on the sidewalks next to Kansas.

Amy jokingly wanted to know: “Are the white circles along Kansas Expressway crop circles made by aliens?” We can definitely say -- No.

After painting a broad brush of questions to numerous agencies, we found out they’re part of a Missouri Department of Transportation project. MoDOT has hired a contractor to do virtual mapping of all the manhole covers, light poles, utilities, guardrails and everything else.

A car loaded up with equipment will shoot out invisible laser beams and the white dots are part of the mapping process. A Missouri State University professor says LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is actually cheaper than standard surveying methods.

“Relative to other ways we have to survey or measure a landscape or urbanscape or something like that, it’s really fast. You can do it much faster and you get much greater density of detail and accuracy. So, in terms of human labor. It’s very efficient,” says Missouri State University Geography, Geology and Planning professor Toby Dogwiler.

MoDOT will use the information for possible Americans with Disabilities Act improvements to sidewalks. And, they’ll have the info on file for City Utilities fiber optic cable expansion project.

The contractor has until June to get the job done.

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