Highway 54 Expressway
"They've had 10 years to make up their minds," complained Kahrs. "And then they come back with a plan that affects our property significantly."
MoDOT proposed a smaller interchange near Kahrs property 10 years ago, but now it wants part of his hillside.
"Compensation doesn't mean a thing," he said. "We don't want their money. We just to be left alone and let them do what they said back in 1995."
MoDOT hopes construction won't interfere with the busy highway. The project is supposed to include a double diamond interchange, but Kahrs doesn't want that near his property. The Kahr family is not against the expressway. They said MoDOT is working with them. But, they argue that an 8-lane, 116-foot-wide overpass isn't needed in their backyard.
MoDOT Area Engineer Bob Lynch said the highway's heaviest traffic is near the Factory Outlet Village because shoppers constantly drive there.
MoDOT estimates four out of every 10 drivers will use the proposed expressway. That would mean less traffic for the outlet mall.
"Quite honestly, I was against it, mostly from a business standpoint," said Kim Ebling, owner of the Topsider Lounge. "I thought they would bypass me and put me on a dead end. But, then I went to a meeting and did a 180-degree turn."
Ebling has run the Topsider for 32 years. Her business depends on traffic, on the lake and on Highway 54.
"It's going to happen," she admitted. "It does no good to argue about it. It's going to happen, so what I learned was, let's make the best of it. The more exits, the better off you'll be."
MoDOT is proposing six exits along the 8.5-mile expressway.
"Some call it a bypass, we call it an expressway," explained Project Manager Kenny Voss. "We're building it because some vehicles don't want to stop. But, we're also providing access for people who want to use the road to jump from one end of the lake to the other."
Osage Beach will hold a hearing about the expressway next Monday, May 15.
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