Editorial

5-year highway plan likely to spur business

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Missouri Department of Transportation recently rolled out its five-year plan that includes 52 road and bridge projects in Southeast Missouri. All of the work for the 14-county MoDOT district will cost about $158 million. Cape Girardeau County is getting nine projects costing about $30 million.

One project that is likely to get a lot of attention will be the demolition of the old Mississippi River bridge, which will be replaced later this year by the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.

But there are several projects that will have a significant impact on future development trends in our area:

In 2004, Jackson is scheduled for a $5.29 million project that will widen Highway 34 from Missouri Street to West Main Street. That project is expected to be finished in 2005. This project has been in the planning and engineering stages for quite some time.

Highway 25 in Jackson is also scheduled to get a $280,000 left-turn lane at the Jackson Trail intersection to alleviate traffic congestion. It should be finished by 2005.

In 2005, Highway 34 will be widened to four lanes from West Main Street in Jackson to County Road 335. That project's cost is estimated at $6.72 million. It is expected to be done by 2006.

The intersection of Silver Springs Road and South Kingshighway is slated for reconstruction in Cape Girardeau to the tune of $462,000. Traffic lights will also be installed. The work is expected to be done by 2005.

In 2006, Route AB will be extended from the BioKyowa plant to Highway 25 at a projected cost of $1.65 million and will be completed the same year. The industries there have needed this deserving project for years.

Also in 2006, the Main Street interchange at Interstate 55 will be built in Jackson. It is scheduled for completion by 2007 and will cost $5.27 million. This is one of the more significant projects on the list and shows that Jackson is aggressive in its planned growth.

In 2007, Highway 34 bridge over Byrd Creek is slated for replacement. Its estimated cost is $1.67 million.

In 2008, Highway 34 bridge over Whitewater River at Burfordville will be replaced for $5.07 million.

This project list means there will be a lot of construction zones, orange cones and barrels and detours in the months ahead. But the temporary inconvenience will be offset in the long run by the potential for growth, particularly industrial, commercial and residential growth.

Of particular interest is the new I-55 interchange that will connect Jackson's Main Street to the interstate. This will create a new area along the interstate ripe for development. The prospects for that area will hinge largely on planning that is well under way in Jackson, along with plans being considered by Southeast Missouri State University for the University Farm at that location.

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