'Smooth Roads' paved 225 miles in region

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

SIKESTON, Mo. -- With the completion of the Missouri Department of Transportation's Smooth Roads Initiative a year ahead of schedule, MoDOT's Southeast Missouri district engineer Mark Shelton said most of the major road problems in the area have been fixed.

Shelton said about 225 miles of those miles were in the Southeast Missouri district at a cost of between $35 million and $40 million. Some of the key smooth roads projects in the Southeast district included the repaving or diamond-grinding of the following road surfaces: Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau and into Jackson as it becomes U.S. 61 and then East Jackson Boulevard; Interstate 55 from Fruitland to Scott City; Route K and William Street inside the Cape Girardeau city limits to Gordonville; Malone Avenue in Sikeston and Scott City's Main Street.

Gov. Matt Blunt and MoDOT director Pete Rahn announced Friday that the initiative, funded by the passage of Amendment 3 in November 2004, was complete, improving 2,200 miles of roads statewide at a cost of $388 million.

The work was performed in 2005 and 2006 and was originally scheduled to be completed in December 2007. MoDOT says 70 percent of the state's major roads are now in good condition.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson praises the work done within the city limits. Knudtson said that after the passage of Amendment 3, he saw a new direction in MoDOT under Rahn.

Knudtson said the improvements have made a huge difference in road conditions, especially on Kingshighway, where parts of the road had been "in extremely poor condition."

"The job that the department of transportation did in expediting that process is one we're pleased with," Knudtson said.

Knudtson said some motorists did experience inconveniences while the work was going on, but since crews worked mostly at night those inconveniences were minimized.

Now the issue will be maintaining those roads that have been repaired, Knudtson said. In the past, maintenance on those roads has fallen behind, he said.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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