Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Missouri Has First-In-Nation Economic Recovery Project

Construction Begins Immediately Upon President’s Signature

JEFFERSON CITY - In 1956, Missouri became the birthplace of the nation's interstate system by becoming the first state to award a contract under the Federal-Aid Highway Act. Today the Show Me State again made history by being the first state in the nation to award and begin construction on transportation projects funded by the federal economic recovery package signed by President Barack Obama.

The first economic recovery project in the nation is in Miller County on Route 17. Construction began within moments of the president's signature to replace the Osage River Bridge one mile east of Tuscumbia at a cost of $8.5 million. Other Missouri highway projects under construction starting today include:

Barry/Lawrence/Christian/Greene Counties, Route 60 - Construct alternating/intermittent passing lanes from east of Chapell Drive in Monett to Kansas Avenue in Republic. $8.7 million

Clinton County, Interstate 35 - Resurface northbound and southbound lanes from north of Shoal Creek to north of Route 116 near Lathrop. $14.6 million

Pemiscot/New Madrid Counties, Interstate 55 - Pavement rehabilitation on northbound and southbound lanes from I-155 to Scott County. $18.4 million

"Today the Show Me State again showed the nation we are leaders in transportation by having the first economic recovery act project in the country under construction," Missouri Department of Transportation Director Pete Rahn said. "We promised we would be ready to go to make the best use of every dollar we receive through the economic recovery act to create jobs and make our highways safer. We delivered on that promise and then some."

Missouri will receive approximately $637 million for road and bridge projects and an estimated $150 million to address air, rail, transit, waterway and pedestrian projects throughout the state. That amount of work will create an estimated 14,000 jobs and have an estimated $2.4 billion impact on the state's economy.

"We're taking this aggressive approach to demonstrate that funding for transportation infrastructure can and will provide the direct and immediate economic jumpstart our nation and state need," Rahn said. "We will use every penny sent to our state to improve our roads and bridges and we will be ready to put additional money not used by other states to work in Missouri."

The benefits of this additional work would go beyond those building the projects to suppliers, retailers, restaurants, hotels and other businesses Rahn added.

A complete list of the projects MoDOT is ready to tackle can be found at www.modot.org/firstinnation.

15 comments:

ShawnP said...

Good job MODOT and a question. When will the Bruce Watkins in Kansas City be upgraded to Interstate quality? Those three lights are very dangerous intersections and many people have died at them over the years. Then add in the pollution of miles long back ups and you have the need to upgrade and now. I know there are political considerations but most people in the area now understand that true interchanges are needed for safety and to get the traffic moving.

Anonymous said...

The article stated "That amount of work will create an estimated 14,000 jobs and have an estimated $2.4 billion impact on the state's economy.

Could you give a breakdown of the 14,000 jobs which will be created so that we will be able to prepare the workforce for those jobs?

Anonymous said...

If the bill would not have beem signed, would the project have been cancelled?

It seems to me that if it would have gone ahead anyway, it is not stimulus related and any jobs created would not count toward jobs created by the stimulus.

MoDOT said...

The jobs will be directly and indirectly created or saved by the contractors who are awarded the construction work and by the organizations that provide them with supportive goods and services. If you'd like more detailed information please contact your local MoDOT office at 1-888-ASK MoDOT.

MoDOT said...

Bruce R. Watkins Drive, a 10.2-mile, divided state highway between the 3-Trails Crossing interchange and the Downtown Loop, was completed in October 2001. The project includes $220 million in construction; $55 million in right-of-way costs; $15 million to design; and nearly $6 million for beautification and enhancements.
The intersections on Bruce R. Watkins Drive at 55th Street, 59th Street and Gregory Boulevard that are controlled by traffic signals are not planned for changes. The residents along this drive fought diligently to demand these restrictions. Neither MoDOT nor the Missouri General Assembly can change this. It is a court-mandated design, negotiated to end a class-action lawsuit that delayed construction of Bruce R. Watkins Drive for two decades. Any change must be initiated in federal court.
Let me provide some history. What is now Bruce R. Watkins Drive started out in 1951 as a Kansas City Plan Commission concept to connect the south with the north along Route 71. At the time America was beginning a post-World War II highway expansion era that was soon to launch the interstate system. Four-lane, divided highways and limited-access freeways were seen as the next step in America’s transportation future. The South Midtown Freeway (as the concept was then named) was envisioned as a major element of the city’s highway master plan. It has evolved into a community asset far different than what was originally envisioned. By the mid-1960s, Kansas City officials had gained support for the project and received Highway Commission approval of a corridor plan. By 1970 properties on the south side of the project, from Bannister Road to 63rd Street, were being acquired. A lawsuit filed in the early 1970s by property owners in the path of the project stalled progress for more than a decade.
By 1987 work was again under way, but the design had changed. No longer a controlled-access freeway, the project was changed to a trafficway with signalized intersections at several key points and added emphasis on building a more attractive drive to complement neighborhoods. The final segment of Bruce R. Watkins Drive was completed by the end of 2001. The last segment, from 31st Street to the downtown loop, rapidly moves a large volume of traffic directly south instead of filtering it east and southwest through I-70 and city streets.
You have a highway carrying 70,000 vehicles a day a year after it opened (2001), which is more than I-70 at Blue Springs. Counts taken by MoDOT in August 2002 show that combined average annual daily traffic northbound and southbound at 47th Street is 70,734 vehicles. The same average daily count on Watkins Drive at Truman Road just south of the busy Downtown Loop is 51,719 vehicles. In 20 years it is expected to be more than 80,000 vehicles daily. Ample right of way was acquired to someday allow MoDOT to reconstruct the three signal-controlled, at-grade intersections to grade-separated interchanges, allowing traffic on Bruce R. Watkins Drive to flow unimpeded. Neither MoDOT nor the city of Kansas City can initiate this change. It is up to the citizens, who must raise the issue again through the court system to amend the class-action agreement. But what is in place now is safe, as long as motorists obey all traffic controls, posted speed limits and avoid distractions while driving.

Joy Slezak said...

I heard on the news this morning you are considering truck only lanes across Missouri. Honestly truck only lanes are a nuisance.

I live in the St. Louis area and have first hand experience with truck only lanes since they were instated last year. Have you ever tried to exit on to the highway with 4 to 5 tractor-trailers tailgating each other? They leave no room for you to squeeze on to the highway; you have to stop on the exit lane and take the chance of being rear-ended by the car behind you.

I don't know if this is a deliberate protest by the truckers to the truck only lane system, but it is definitely a hazard here in the county.

I do get aggravated when I am driving highway 70 to Kansas City when two trucks decide to drive side by side and have traffic balled up behind them, but truck only lanes are not the answer. You will still get the truck driver who decides to pass the truck in front of him and get in a passing race with the truck he is trying to pass. I see this way to often from St. Louis to Kansas City.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the breakdown (mentioned on Feb 20) about the jobs you are creating.....especially if you spend $60 million to relocated Hwy 141 (WoodsMill) in St Louis county. This a terrible idea! It is too much money to justify this little stretch of road (that's perfectly fine now). SEE St. Louis P-D "opinion letter" 4/4/09 from Patricia Smith, Chesterfield. She is SO RIGHT!

MoDOT said...

The Route 141 relocation project was determined to be a regional priority by MoDOT and East-West Gateway Council of Government. East-West Gateway is made up of leaders from around the St. Louis region (both Illinois and Missouri) who help determine those projects which will improve transportation around the region.

This project has been extensively studied through the environmental assessment process. This relocation will reduce flooding along both the Route 141 corridor and along Woods Mill Road, and will reduce the extensive backups (often 10-15 minutes) around the schools, churches and subdivisions along the current Route 141. This work will make the roadway safer for those people who live, work and go to school or church on the current Route 141, and will reduce vehicles idling at lights.

The St. Louis Economic Council completed a study that determined completing this corridor would have a $19.34 billion impact over the next 20 years. For more details on this study, visit the St. Louis Economic Council's website. In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding that MoDOT will spend on transportation projects statewide is expected to directly or indirectly support 22,000 jobs.

Anonymous said...

The important thing to note there is that it is not MoDOT that decided that 141 is a priority.

The East-West Gateway decided this, and ppl that have a problem with that really should take it up with those people....

Anonymous said...

Why is Interstate 49 in Missouri not completed yet to I-70 in DOWNTOWN KCMO?

I notice that I-49 in Missouri was completed between I-435 and Route HH on December 12th, at 12 NOON.

Can I-49 follow I-435 if it cannot follow US-71 North into DOWNTOWN?

When is MODOT going to start removing the 3 at-grade crossings?

Anonymous said...

When is US-71 Between I-435 and I-70 become I-49?

DeAnne Rickabaugh said...

There are no plans to make US 71 between I-435 and I-70 an interstate.

Interstates must be free of at-grade interchanges and traffic signals.

Bruce R. Watkins Drive, a 10.2-mile, divided state highway between the 3-Trails Crossing interchange and the Downtown Loop, was completed in October 2001.

The intersections on Bruce R. Watkins Drive at 55th Street, 59th Street and Gregory Boulevard that are controlled by traffic signals are not planned for changes.

The residents along this drive fought diligently to demand these restrictions. Neither MoDOT nor the Missouri General Assembly can change this. It is a court-mandated design, negotiated to end a class-action lawsuit that delayed construction of Bruce R. Watkins Drive for two decades. Any change must be initiated in federal court.

Anonymous said...

Can I-49 Follow I-435 to I-70 then Follow I-70 WB to I-29 NB instead of US-71 just north of Bannister Road?

Anonymous said...

Is there any plans that MODOT is going to take the Interstate 49/US-71 and Bruce R. Waktins Drive issue to the Federal Court?

DeAnne Rickabaugh said...

Neither MoDOT nor the city of Kansas City can initiate this change. It is up to the citizens, who must raise the issue again through the court system to amend the class-action agreement. But what is in place now is safe, as long as motorists obey all traffic controls, posted speed limits and avoid distractions while driving.