Better highways

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

With the passage of Amendment 3 earlier this month, Missouri roads could quickly show improvement.

Three major highways in Southeast Missouri already are slated for improvements, although specific projects have not yet been identified. Sections of interstates 55 and 57 and U.S. 67 from Festus to Farmington will be resurfaced as part of the "smooth roads" program planned by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

MoDOT plans to spend $400 million over the next three years to resurface roads on 2,200 miles of highway in the state. Improvements will include better pavement and brighter stripes and signs, reflective pavement markers separating lanes, improved shoulders with rumble strips and safer guardrails.

Missourians overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment on Nov. 2 that funnels more road and bridge tax money to transportation improvements.

The transportation agency is taking its commitment to heart and beginning work on repairs. The road improvement plan has three phases: creating smoother and safer roads, expediting roadwork projects and adding unscheduled projects to the mix.

A specific list of projects is expected to be approved in early December. The list could include additional state roads in Southeast Missouri.

But MoDOT has targeted the roads that most Missourians travel. More than half the state's population travels the 2,200 miles slated for improvements. Nearly 86 percent of people in Missouri live within 10 miles of one of the selected roads.

Projects like the smooth roads initiative show that MoDOT is trying to keeping its pledge to improve Missouri roads.

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