The future of Ozark Mountain Highroad, MoDOT has no plans to complete Hwy 465

Stone and Taney Counties, MO. -- Up to 5,000 people drive the Ozark Mountain Highroad every day, between Highway 76 in Stone County and Highway 65 in Taney County.

However, the road bypassing Branson is only partially complete, dead-ending where it connects to Highway 76, near Silver Dollar City.

It's now been more than 16 years since phase-one was completed.

"The Strip in the summertime is terrible," Branson-Area Local Brittany Russell said.

Russell says since drivers first started using Highway 465 in June of 2003, the more than $61 million, eight-mile stretch of road has made a big difference.

"Back in the day, my mom, it took her two hours to get to work because of the busy roads," Russell said.

"I use it every single day," Branson-Area Local Jake Ward said.

The original plan was to continue with phase-two of the Highroad, but MoDOT officials say the end to that plan is now nowhere in sight.

"Unfortunately, there's just not the funding there to complete the project," MoDOT Area Engineer Beth Schaller said.

The state already owns the right-of-way for phase-two, which would continue the loop around Branson, back to Highway 65 on the south.

"I would love to see this extended," Schaller said.

She's not the only one who would like to see the project completed.

"I'd probably use that, too," Ward said.

"People that live on that side of town, they [would] not [have] to go all the way through town to get to 65," Russell said.

Even local leaders want the road done.

"Every time we meet with Stone County especially, because everything ends there, they've really wanted to prioritize getting this extended to at least Highway 265," Schaller said.

However, Schaller says, right now the highway department has no plans for completion of the Highroad.

"We've got good public support for maintaining what we've got," Schaller said.

So, for now, what's left of the blocked-off dirt path, will continue to lead to nowhere.

"There are a lot of things I'd really love to see if we had the funding," Schaller said.

Back in the late 80's and early 90's, the then-Governor John Ashcroft said the road was needed to help with the Branson tourist boom of the nineties. It took about eight years to complete.