The Highway 72 extension has been fully funded and approved along with the bike and walking trail with more projects on the horizon because of notable amount of money saved by the city. Those new projects will be detailed in the next article for the transportation updates for Phelps County.
At the Rotary meeting on April 13, President of Investment Realty, Inc. Mike Woessner presented an update on the Highway 72 extension, prompting a member of the Rotary Club of Rolla to ask if there was any discussion about Highway 63 between University Drive and Old St. James Rd., describing the current situation as a “bottleneck.”
In response to the bottleneck situation, Woessner stated improvements on Highway 63 between University Drive and Kingshighway are fully funded, and currently being discussed.
Accordingly, one of the traffic studies the city has done found that around 60 percent of the people who enter on Highway 63 north don’t stop until they get out of town on several routes. The same can be said for drivers coming from Highway 63 south, where people generally do not stop.
“So these drivers are just going through town and the thought process is they either are going to stay on Interstate 44 and go to Kingshighway then get on Highway 72 and then go south, or if they are coming down Highway 63 they will jump on Interstate 44, go west and go down,” stated Woessner, while referring to the current blockade situation around Phelps County.
One of the topics being discussed for the road improvements that would benefit Phelps County is to slow down traffic between University Drive and Kingshighway, so that it becomes “slow enough that the tractor trailers say, ‘I’m not going to do this, I’m going to go around.’”
“If you make it cumbersome to get through those areas, then we are hoping that they are going to find this new route much more desirable and much faster,” said Woessner.
Besides, Highway 72 is not incredibly long, and the plan includes an effective way to get from the interstate to M-63 / M-72 junction promptly.
“You are going to be able to get from the interstate to the M-63/ M-72 junction within like a minute,” said Woessner. “It’s only like a mile or less, so that is what we are hoping for, that traffic will start naturally rerouting itself so that Highway 63 north will have less congestion.”
The city has more projects they will be able to do because of the money they saved with the new transportation upgrades, and projects are still in discussion, according to Woessner.