OSAGE COUNTY - U.S. Route 50 on Monday became one step closer to becoming a four-lane highway across Missouri when state and local officials broke ground on a 6.6-mile expansion of the east-west corridor in Osage County.
The new four-lane highway will run from the Route 50/63 junction to County Road 604 west of Linn. The new realignment will remove many of the hills, curves and access points drivers currently experience, greatly improving safety and traffic flow on Highway 50. As an added bonus, the construction should have minimal impact on the traveling public because the highway will be built on a new alignment.
Iron Mountain Services of Maryland Heights, Mo., is the contractor on the $25.5 million project, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2014. Also as part of a separate project that will be bid later, the old section of Route 50 from Route A to County Road 604 will be resurfaced and turned over to Osage County.
"Four-laning this section of Route 50 will not only benefit mid-Missourians, but also cross-state travelers," said Missouri Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Dave Nichols. "We would love to be able to make Route 50 a four-lane highway across the entire state, but even after this project is completed, we still have 91 miles to go."
Nichols noted there is no funding available for any additional expansion of Route 50, though MoDOT's five-year construction program does contain money for preliminary design of new highway lanes around Linn.
"Moving forward, we only have enough funding to try to keep our roads and bridges in as good of condition as we can for as long as we can," Nichols said. "That's unfortunate, because projects like this enhance the state's transportation system and make travel safer, ease congestion, create jobs and foster economic development."