The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Joplin Metro

May 11, 2007

<img src="http://www.joplinglobeonline.com/images/zope/extra.gif" border=0> Plan holds 2008 finish for Range Line Bypass <font color="#ff0000"> w/ MSTIP District 7 project map for 2008-2012</font>

By Wally Kennedy

wkennedy@joplinglobe.com

Highway 249, also known as the Range Line Bypass, could be completed by the end of next year under Missouri’s new five-year transportation plan.

The proposed plan, now available for public review at www.modot.org, includes a number of projects in Southwest Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Transportation’s construction program lists all transportation projects planned by state and regional planning agencies for fiscal years 2008 through 2012. The projects total $6.5 billion over the five-year period, providing approximately $5.05 billion for highways and bridges.

Scott Bachman, transportation planning manager for MoDOT’s regional office in Joplin, said, “We are finishing our commitments and that includes the last project to complete the Range Line Bypass. We hope to have the paving of the bypass from Route 171 to Zora under contract in September.’’

The last segment of the bypass, estimated to cost $8.4 million, should be completed by the end of the 2008 construction season.

Another project in the plan is the widening to five lanes of East Seventh Street from Duquesne Road to Route 249. Bachman said right of way for the project will be acquired later this year for approximately $3.8 million. Construction would take place in 2010 at an estimated cost of $9.8 million.

The plan calls for work on the Bella Vista (Ark.) bypass in McDonald County in 2009. The start date for that project will depend on the progress that Arkansas makes in getting the bypass to the state line, he said.

When the work is completed, the highway departments in Missouri and Arkansas will redesignate Highway 71 as Interstate 49 from Joplin south to Interstate 40 at Fort Smith, Ark. Bachman said there is nothing planned for the conversion of Highway 71 to Interstate 49 north from Joplin to Kansas City.

“We will take a preliminary conceptual look at the corridor to determine the magnitude of the cost to do that, he said. “There is no money for construction in this plan.’’

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