By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Missourians now can review the list of $4.8 billion in transportation projects that will be tackled if voters approve Amendment 7 on Aug. 5.
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved the list at its meeting Wednesday in Jefferson City. Project lists are required under legislation that put the three-quarters-cent sales tax on the ballot.
Some of the construction plans were added after the Missouri Department of Transportation held public hearings around the state.
"Some of the key accomplishments are addressing 41 deficient bridges, including replacing the Champ Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River at Louisiana, resurfacing more than 800 miles of roadways, and beginning construction on a shared four-lane on U.S. 54," MoDOT Northeast District Engineer Paula Gough said in a news release.
Gough said the plan's priorities are to take care of the existing transportation system, improve safety, boost economic development and provide other transportation choices.
U.S. 61 also would be raised near Alexandria to reduce or eliminate road closings when the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers flood. Marisa Ellison, a MoDOT customer relations manager, said improvements along McMasters Avenue in Hannibal also are planned.
"Most of these projects were identified through the process with our regional planning commissions. Some have been added as a result of public comments," Ellison said.
Northeast Missouri projects include:
º A new interchange at U.S. 63 and Mo. 6 in Kirksville.
º Safety improvements including several intersections near schools.
º 841 miles of resurfacing along with 116 miles of shoulders.
º 43 bridge replacements and improvements.
º Increased funding for OATS, a specialized transportation service for seniors, the disabled and the rural public, and for other modes of transportation.
Projects on the list would be constructed over the next 10 years. All proceeds from Amendment 7 would go toward transportation improvements and the sales tax would sunset after 10 years unless voters approve an extension. The sales tax would not be imposed on food or medicine, and the state would not be allowed to raise the fuel tax or collect tolls on existing highways during the life of the tax.
The regional improvement lists are available at www.modot.org/movingforward. Projects may be viewed by district by clicking on the map showing each MoDOT region.