Changes to Highway 72 and other improvements should ease traffic concerns according to a recent transportation update.
During a presentation to the Rolla Rotary Club, Mike Woessner, president of Investment Realty, Inc. announced the Highway 72 extension has been fully funded and approved along with the bike and walking trail.
The upgrades have saved money for the city, and will include a four way intersection at the location of the old Days Inn, and once on Highway 72 at the four way intersection Kingshighway will veer over and sit right in the middle of where Days Inn was, so a large piece will be left in front of Buehler Park that is going to be donated to the park, according to Woessner.
Ridgeview road parallels the new Highway 72, and the new bridge will be located where there were about six or seven houses in the cul-de-sac on Bryant drive.
"That is what is going to take this project so much time to get done is that bridge, and from there is a straight shot all the way to Walgreens," said Woessner.
Woessner said the project is on track, and is scheduled to be completed by November of this year.
Along with having this project completed, Woessner said the construction budget came in at over $1 million in savings over what was budgeted, and the contractor's bid included a concrete roadway.
"So instead of asphalt they came in and poured concrete for that entire stretch, which will save money long term," said Woessner. "The fact that it is $1 million under budget, and they are getting concrete streets is a big win,.”
Another positive aspect of the upgrades will be the walking and bike trail that is currently being designed and will travel over Interstate 44 where the highway patrol is located along with a multitude of fraternities.
"It will be separate from the bridge itself if you have ever been to St. Robert and have seen their bridge, it will be right off the bridge as a separate structure, so that is a big plus," said Woessner.
A concern from one of the Rotarians was if the upgrades were going to affect Fairgrounds Road. Based on the discussion the upgrades will not.
"It took the city, county and the council members -- everybody came together to make this project work, and we have had a lot of community help and participation to make this work," said Woessner.