JACKSON -- Along part of Highway 34/72 in Jackson, Missouri Department of Transportation surveyors are placing flags to mark easements and rights of way and spots where soil samples must be taken so that bridge foundations and retaining walls can be designed.
It's part of the large amount of preparation that must take place before the first construction phase of the $16 million worth of scheduled improvements can begin.
MoDOT is widening 3 1/2 miles of the road to four lanes with a median, installing stoplights along the way to improve traffic flow and closing off some streets to manage access.
The first phase of the project extends just over a mile from Oklahoma Street west to Cathy Drive.
The project originally began further east at the Highway 25 intersection with Highway 34/72, but concerns on the part of business owners and the city about limiting access to some of Jackson's largest industries prompted MoDOT to begin the median further west.
Though the project's limits moved west, MoDOT officials changed their minds and agreed to keep in improvements on Highway 25 at Jackson Trail to help with industrial traffic. Those improvements, consisting of additional turn lanes, will be part of the second phase of construction to begin in 2005.
Recently, MoDOT mailed residents along the highway an update on the project's progress.
Seventy-one parcels will be affected in the first phase of the project. There are 14 acquisitions that will require relocation.
Sherry Glastetter, right of way manager for MoDOT in Sikeston said 15 offers have been made to landowners so far. The price is based on market value. If an agreement can't be reached, the purchase will go to mediation. The price then will be decided by three commissioners appointed by a judge. A jury trial will decide the final value of the property if mediation fails.
Right of way acquisition for the second of the three phases is scheduled to begin at the end of this year. Construction of the first phase is to begin in 2004.