Signs going up!
After yesterday's announcement, I became curious about MoDOT's long-term plans for the MO 249/ MO 171 corridor and how it relates to I-49.
I called the Southwest District Office, eventually spoke with one of the engineers, and had a great conversation. First, MoDOT is probably looking at a ten-year horizon before a location study would be initiated. The current thinking is that three primary options for the eventual I-49 routing exist for the location study:
1. Keep the I-44/I-49 overlap; however, this would necessitate an upgrade for the eastern I-44/I-49 interchange
from a cloverleaf to a directional interchange.
2. Use the MO 249/ MO 171 corridor and upgrade the current MO 171/MO 249 corridor
by finding a way to remove the presence of traffic signals at interchange ramps at US 71/MO 171/MO 96 near Carthage, as well as upgrade the MO 171/ I-49 interchange.
3. Build a new terrain connection that would basically be a "straight line" from the 171 "bend" west of the Hwy 96 interchange to the "90 degree bend" north of Carthage.
Other options could manifest themselves during the course of the study. Again, this all is on a loooooong term horizon.
Finally, the engineer confirmed MoDOT's commitment to building the Bella Vista Bypass once Arkansas starts making some good progress.