ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Lack of funds in MoDOT’s budget has halted any possibility of new projects and may leave thousands of miles of Missouri highways neglected.
“The public normally expects improvements [such as] new interchanges, or new entrances to businesses,” said MoDOT Assistant District Engineer Bill Schnell. “That’s totally off the table right now.”
In 2009, MoDOT’s budget was $1.3 billion. In 2014, the budget was $700 million. The budget for this year is $325 million. MoDOT has labeled its new approach as “Missouri’s 325 System” in reference to the dropping funds.
MoDOT currently maintains 34,000 miles of roads, but plans to focus their efforts on caring for 8,000 miles of primary roads which connect cities across Missouri.
“Seventy-five to eighty percent of all travel in Missouri takes place on primary systems which include all interstates,” Schnell said. “[They include] some of our major highways in St. Louis, but not all of them.”
The remaining roadways are classified as supplementary roadways and will receive only limited routine maintenance. Of the remaining roads, twenty-six percent are classified as being in poor condition. In ten years, the paved roads will look like gravel roads.
“There is no way to pull over on the shoulders or anything,” said Claire Langley, a Lincoln County resident. “Highway 79 is like a death trap with the traffic.”
MoDOT officials are expected to meet in Jefferson City on Wednesday to discuss the budget. They are expected to vote on whether or not to accept this as the new approach the state will implement on the roadways.