MoDot budget drop causes changes to mid-Missouri roads

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JEFFERSON CITY -Thousands of miles of mid-Missouri roads will get less attention than usual under the new Road and Bridge Plan approved by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

Commission Chair Stephen Miller said the plan will change the way roads are taken care of in Missouri.

"This action truly sets the stage to transform Missouri's transportation system and dramatically change the way we do business," Miller said. 

The plan is called the "325 system" because the budget will drop to $325 million. MoDOT will now have to use its limited funds on just 8,000 miles of Missouri's 34,000 mile highway system.

Central District Engineer David Silvester said "About 26,000 miles is not going to get construction work that people are familiar with. It's a sign of the times, and it's a sign of where we are with the funding that we have." 

Primary roads such as I-70, U.S. 50, and U.S. 63 will continue to receive upkeep construction, but the budget will allow supplementary roads to only receive routine maintenance.

"Roads like Providence, College, Stadium, Grindstone, those are now supplementary roads that are not going to get treatments under this '325'. We're still going to work on them as best as we can with our maintenance folks," Silvester said. 

On supplementary roads, MoDOT will continue filling potholes and fixing pavement; but it won't be able to keep them from deteriorating over time. 

"Really all we're going to be able to do on those types of roads and many other thousands of miles across the state is just a very limited routine type of maintenance treatment," Silver said.

Some drivers who frequently travel on roads like Stadium Boulevard and Providence Road are concerned about the budget cut.

"I drive on these roads pretty much everyday and the conditions are already bad, so if MoDOT doesn't plan to reconstruct or work on them any time in the future it can only get worse, and prevent people from getting to where they need to go on time," Tevin Rose said.

Silvester said the budget cut could affect drivers. 

"The possibility of actually disrupting traffic with this is pretty high actually," Silvester said. "There's the potential that we will close bridges. It's going to create an inconvenience, not only for the public, but for us also."

Silvester said one bridge used as an emergency detour has been closed indefinitely, and road closures could also be a possibility. 

"Theres a possibility that the road may fall into a state of disrepair that's very unsafe for the traveling public. It's still our duty to make sure the public can travel safely on the road. So that may mean we might close a road,"  Silvester said.

For more information on bridge conditions and closures visit MoDOT's website