Showdown brews over road plans

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission will be deluged with presentations from the lake area when it meets May 14 at Porta Cima.

Two groups plan to highlight proposals for future highway improvements, while the city of Osage Beach is hoping to plead its case with the commission over a proposed change to the expressway project. City officials say the proposed change at Broadwater/Case Road could push more traffic back on to what will be Business Highway 54 when the expressway project is completed.

That concerns Mayor Penny Lyons, who says she thought the goal of the expressway was to ease traffic flow on Business Highway 54.MoDOT broke ground on the east end of the expressway project last fall. Last month, MoDOT announced the need to trim costs on the project due to an anticipated decrease in federal funds and bond payments that will create a shortfall in 2010. The state has allocated $99 million for the expressway project. Lyons said the city plans to take its concerns to the commission.

The Lake of the Ozarks Transportation Advisory Council is also hoping to present its priority for highway improvements at Lake of the Ozarks.

LOTAC is an advisory group that is responsible for working with the Missouri Department of Transportation to identify priorities. LOTAC is part of the Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments and receives funding from MoDOT.

LOTAC spokesman Ron Lee says the group endorses a plan to improve state Route 5 from the Niangua Bridge north through Greenview and Sunrise Beach to Gravois. Lee said highway improvements along that corridor would benefit the entire area. LOTAC’s plan would cost in the neighborhood of $110 million.

Lake of the Ozarks Transportation Council chairman Jim Herfurth said that group plans to go before the commission to make a presentation about how it will proceed with the remaining highway priorities for the lake area. LOTC has been advocating for an improved Route 5 North from the Niangua Bridge to Gravois Mills, but the scope of the project is changing, Herfurth said.

The village of Sunrise Beach has decided to move forward with a cost-share agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation to complete Route 5 improvements inside the municipality’s limits. The city of Laurie completed a similar project on a stretch of Route 5 last year. Another project that has been named a priority is the construction of the Shawnee Bend Connector. 

The project would add a new Route 42 to Routes MM, TT and F that would connect Route 5 and Highway 54 by use of the Community Bridge, according to information on the LOTC Web site. Herfurth said the only way the highway improvements would be possible is through revenue generated by implementing a transportation development district and use of matching funds provided by the state.

In order to move forward, there would need to be statutory change regarding who votes for the formation of a TDD, he said.

The commission will be holding its meeting at Lake of the Ozarks to mark the 10th anniversary of the community bridge, which was the first privately funded bridge built in Missouri. An agenda has not been posted. Generally, commission meetings get under way at 8:30 a.m.

On the Web:

- Lake of the Ozarks Transportation Council

- City of Osage Beach

- Lake of the Ozarks Transportation Advisory Council

No Web site available

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