East Highway 76 lane closure confuses drivers in Branson, Mo.

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 4:26 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Drivers in the Branson area need to show extra caution as MoDOT crews make changes to the lanes on Highway 76 and the entrance to the Ozark Mountain High Road.

Crews removed the center lane at the State Highway 376 intersection and 76 High Road exit. MoDOT crews say the change happened to make way for a future left turn lane project. One driver says signage needs to be displayed far in advance.

“If there are no road signs at least a mile ahead, it will mess the drivers up,” said local Mark Richey. “If they don’t see anything remotely close to the construction, then there’s going to be issues.”

Mark Richey works close to the road work and says this change can be challenging for tourists who aren’t as familiar with the area and locals who have to navigate construction work sites like this.

”In the Ozarks, be careful; I’ve seen a lot of accidents,” Richey said. “If you are young, middle-aged, or older, it really doesn’t matter. Everybody has to be aware of what’s going on.”

MoDOT traffic operations engineer Mike Bock says crews have changed a few structural signs as you approach the Highway 76 high road exit.

”One is the quarter-mile sign. It says Missouri 76 one quarter mile left lane only,” said Bock.

To clear up driver confusion, crews plan to add more pavement markings to show changes to the lanes.

”You’re in that inside line all the way from Indian Point, so we’re going to add some left turn areas with the word only on the pavement. We’re going to try a double-wide stripe to indicate that something’s different.”

Workers are also changing a sign inside the signal for the southbound off-ramp that wasn’t there before.”

”It says ahead 376 Branson advance left, 76 east to U.S. 65,” Bock said.

Bock says an additional message board was added Monday to give drivers more notice of the changes ahead as well. He says that it can initially be challenging for drivers when driving patterns change. That’s why it’s essential to keep your speed low and pay attention to the more significant signs and pavement markings.

“It’ll take a little bit to learn the new driving habits that we want because people have done this for a while,” Bock said. “This is a relatively recent change, but it is one that we think makes it better for what we want to do in the future.”

Bock says the project should finish in 2024.

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