(Kristin Eberts) [Order this photo]
Crews with Emery Sapp and Sons have worked through the summer on the $2.55 million construction project preparing the new roadway.
"Weather permitting, we hope to be pouring concrete in about two weeks," said Darius Dowdy, resident engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation's Southeast District.
The Route AB extension is expected to open to traffic in late October or early November, Dowdy said.
Once paving is completed, grading and shaping must be done along with installing signs and striping the new pavement, he said.
Work underway now is the third and final phase of a $6 million project including a new roundabout at the intersection of Highway 25 and Highway 77 in Blomeyer.
Blomeyer resident Roger Moore, who lives at the Blomeyer junction, said he's noticed a significant increase in safety since the roundabout opened to traffic in October 2010.
"It's safer than having a traffic light. People run red lights, and at four-way stops nobody knows when to go. With this roundabout they just keep moving," Moore said.
Traffic that used to back up on Highway 25 during peak travel times doesn't anymore, he said.
Now that road work in the area is nearing completion, Moore is opening a new bar and grill at the junction. He's naming after the area's new landmark. It will be called The Round About.
It's at 12236 State Highway 25, the former location of the Curve Inn. "They took the curve away when they put the round about in," Moore explained.
Once the Route AB extension is open, the new road will keep trucks from having to drive on Interstate 55 to access SEMO Port. The Port Authority has been pushing for this extension since 1997.
This will improve safety for drivers in both semi trucks and passenger cars, said Dan Overbey, executive director of SEMO Port.
"Without it, your only choice now is to go to the Interstate," Overbey said. "Especially around harvest time, we get a lot of trucks and they're loaded heavy bringing grain to the elevators. They turn and have to get up on the Interstate with cars doing 80, zooming around them. This will make it a lot safer for them."
Overbey expects to see an increase in commodities coming into the port once there is more direct and safer access from the west.
"It makes some of the areas out toward the west more competitive to come to the port, compared to other transportation options," Overbey said.
In addition to benefiting the port, the new road will also improve access to industrial developments on Nash Road and the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, he said.
Mitch Robinson, executive director of Cape Girardeau Area Magnet, is hopeful the Route AB extension will encourage additional industrial development along Nash Road.
"Transportation is always a key factor in the site selection process," Robinson said. "Anything we can do to help improve access in that part of the county, actually both counties, will have a positive effect."
In addition to funds provided by MoDOT, $1.3 million in federal highway appropriations were dedicated to the Route AB extension project.
These funds were primarily used by Cape Girardeau County to purchase the right of way and complete the grading and drainage portions of the Route AB extension project, said Andy Meyer, construction and materials engineer with MoDOT's Southeast District.
Route AB, Cape Girardeau, Mo.