Proposed Ozark Run Scenic Byway to unite communities and highlight Ozarks region

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 4:28 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Some state leaders want to know what you think about renaming some of our state’s most scenic roads. They want to take several Missouri highways and turn them into a new byway. The hope is to get more tourists.

Ozark Run Scenic Byway will start near St Louis and end near Branson, making an arc through the small towns and wilderness of southern Missouri.

“This is all using existing roads,” said Byway Coordinator Eric Hermanson. “What we are doing is taking Routes 21, 106, 19, U.S. 160, and giving that route a name.”

Hermanson says the byway would go past several state parks and recreational areas, encouraging people to stop there. He says the route will get drivers off interstates and have them weaving through places they haven’t had a chance to see before.

”There are several other scenic byways of its kind around the nation,” Hermanson said. “There have been studies done that just by giving your highway a name, it tends to attract people to come see what that area is all about.”

He says that defining what the Ozarks region is could also unite communities and lead to more tourism dollars. Bruce Woodcock lives an hour outside of St Louis and comes to the Branson area three to four times a year. He says he likes the idea of a designated scenic route and the chance to learn about more communities.

”Having an option that we could perhaps come down in the fall and see some of the fall foliage on the way down here would be a pretty neat trip,” Woodcock said.

In the upcoming weeks, Hermanson will visit every county along the route for the Ozark Run meetings. The meetings will provide more information to communities about the proposal, and the public is invited to give feedback.

”This byway is their road,” said Hermanson. “It’s going to require the locals to embrace the idea and make sure it’s a positive for everyone along the route.”

For Ozark Run Byway meeting dates, times and locations, CLICK HERE.

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