Road improvement projects scheduled in Ozark
Roadwork planned in Ozark will help ease traffic along two of the city's busiest stretches of South and Jackson Streets.
City officials say the improvements will not only make driving in those areas faster but also safer.
"It's real busy, too busy in fact," Larry Kirkland said.
"You get to the intersections and it's backed up," Jeff Campbell said.
"Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., it would be a nightmare. It's backed up from that light past the school here," Jim Stockham said.
Jim's Barber Shop is located just off Business 65, or South Street. Stockham says the heavy traffic congestion leads to lots of accidents.
"I've seen wrecks right over here. I've seen wrecks down here at this light. At least once a month there's a wreck down there," Stockham said.
That's why MoDOT has put the two projects in Ozark on the top of its priority list.
"You look at vehicle crashes, fatalities, pedestrian incidents, and those types of things and these rank the highest in the region of being in need of improvement," City Administrator Steve Childers said.
Childers says MoDOT's Missouri Moves Program will pay to widen the stretch of Business 65 from Highway 65 east to the NN intersection on Jackson Street and from Highway 65 to the Selmore intersection on South Street to five lanes. Ozark will pay to improve the intersections. Eighty percent of the projects will be paid by MoDOT and 20 percent will be paid by the city. It's an investment Childers says is well worth it.
"Transportation is key on everybody's list. If you want to bring in economic development, you've got to make transportation improvements," Childers said.
He says it's all about planning for the future of the city.
"Keep growing and grow smart. We want to make sure we do that and listen to our citizens," Childers said.
Locals say the roadwork can't be done soon enough.
"Wish they'd have done it a long time ago," Campbell said.
"Can't wait for it to get done," Stockham said.
These projects will start in 2018 and 2019.
Another road project was completed this summer on the north side of Ozark at the intersection of CC and Highway 65. Childers says that area is already drawing more development.