JEFFERSON CITY - Truck drivers have voted Missouri roads as the fifth best in the nation. They also voted Interstate 44 as the fourth most improved highway segment in a tie with Interstate 94 in Illinois. The rankings came from a recent survey conducted by Overdrive magazine, a publication serving the commercial motor carrier industry.
"It wasn't too long ago - 2005 - that our roads ranked second worst in this same survey, and I-44 was named one of the three worst highways in the country," Missouri Department of Transportation Director Pete Rahn said. "We've worked hard to improve our highways in just a few short years, and it's showing. It's great to be recognized by professional drivers who know firsthand what's going on out there on the roads and how important it is to invest in them."
Rahn cited the passage of Constitutional Amendment 3 in November 2004 as one of the key reasons for Missouri's ability to improve its highway system. That measure redirected some highway user funds to MoDOT and allowed the agency to tackle record amounts of construction work in the past few years. As a result, 78 percent of Missouri's major roads are now in good condition.
Rahn also said the agency has begun to focus its efforts on improving the state's transportation system as a whole over the long term, rather than on individual projects.
"It's much more efficient for us to look at the overall picture when we make transportation decisions," Rahn said.
Now the challenge is to keep Missouri roads in good condition, Rahn said. State and federal revenues that fund highway construction and maintenance are lagging because of declining motor vehicle sales and fuel use, while the costs of doing business continue to increase.
Best Roads (from Overdrive Magazine)
3. Georgia, Tennessee (tie)
Most Improved Highway Segment
1. I-80, Pennsylvania
2. I-40, Arkansas
3. I-10, Louisiana
4. I-94, Illinois; I-44, Missouri (tie)
5. 1-75, Georgia