Jeff City to vote on MODOT grant for road sign improvements

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JEFFERSON CITY - Soon, it may be easier for residents and visitors to find their way around Jefferson City. 

The Jefferson City Council is voting at its meeting on Tuesday night on whether to authorize a Missouri Department of Transportation, or MoDOT, grant that would go toward road sign improvements around town. 

Jefferson City Engineer David Bange said more signs are needed to prevent drivers from getting lost on the roads. 

"Sometimes we have truckers, especially getting off the bridge right as they come across it into Jefferson City, get onto Main Street and head west because they feel like they need to go west," Bange said. "When suddenly, you've left the highway and are on a residential street."

The proposed grant from MoDOT would be for $214,000, which would equal roughly 80 percent of the necessary funding for the project. 

A Jefferson City parking fund and private donations would fund the remaining 20 percent needed. 

While the project would revamp signage downtown, signs would also be placed in surrounding areas like Saint Martins and Holts Summit.

Bange said while safety concerns were the main factor that led to the need for changes, he believes more road signs could also be beneficial for the Jefferson City economy. 

"We have a lot of visitors in town who might be coming for state business at the capitol or some athletic event," Bange said. "So, they're here in town doing whatever it is that they're doing, but they don't really know what else exists around town. We're hoping that a system of signage can really help with economic development so people can know, 'Hey, I've got an hour and I can go over here.'"

The City Council had its first hearing on the ordinance two weeks ago. 

If the grant is authorized on Tuesday, Bange said the next step would be to hire a consultant to develop the the look and placement of the signs. 

Jefferson City would continue to hear public input on the exact plan through the fall.

Bange said he expects these signs to be installed in the spring of 2016.