Plans for Highway 50
The Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce says it supports improving U.S. Highway 50 before construction on I- 70 uses all the money. Besides the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses also feel the need for the improvements.
Bob Call works at Longfellow's Garden Center along Highway 50 in Centertown. Passing traffic keeps business booming, and Call says making the highway four lanes can only help.
"50 carries a lot of traffic right now, and there's a lot of business in the area that depends on that traffic. Obviously it will be good for Jeff City, and since a lot of our customers are out of Jeff City, what's good for Jeff City is good for Longfellow's," said Call.
Right now many parts of Highway 50 are only two lanes.The federal government has only allotted enough money to expand Highway 50 from mid-Missouri to California. The Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce says it's important that before any more construction is done on I-70, Highway 50 should be expanded to a four lane highway throughout the state. The reasoning behind this is that some residents fear many motorists would take Highway 50 to avoid construction on I-70.
"We just believe that it's in the commission's best interest and MoDOT's best interest to look at having an alternative way to get across the state," said Randy Allen, Chamber President.
The Chamber President says there are other benefits to making Highway 50 that alternative.
"Anytime that you four-lane or improve a stretch of highway, you significantly reduce the amount of accidents," said Allen.
Although officials say it would be a long-term project, Call says its one he's hoping will happen.
"It's a major highway. To have a two-lane bottleneck in the middle of the state is very poor," said Call.
Right now MoDOT says there's no state money available to pay for any new projects.The Chamber says it's possible a tax in Jefferson City could be implemented in a couple of years to help with costs.