State Transportation Leaders Plan for Future

Published 01/30 2014 05:30PM

Updated 01/31 2014 09:57AM

(St. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Missouri Department of Transportation met Thursday in St. Joseph to discuss the state's long-range transportation plan.

Consultants and stakeholders expressed their opinions on the state's progress regarding the freight plan.

"Safety is very important to us, it's one of those things that drives us towards making improvements," says Michael Rinehart, Area Engineer for MoDOT.

Freight moved by trucks, barges, planes and trains is an essential part of the state's economy.

Leaders from Hillyard and other major companies in St. Joseph attended the meeting. They said they are happy with improvements, but would like to see upgrades along Highway 36.

"We always want to have good infrastructure of the highway system through St. Joseph. So, it's very important that we be able to get our product out," says Chuck Amen, Corporate Transportation Operations Manager for Hillyard.

Other suggestions to the Highway 36 upgrades include increasing the speed limit, widening shoulders and possibly making it an interstate.

"We're not necessarily done with Highway 36, there's potential for new and innovative things to be taken place on Highway 36 down the road," added Rinehart.

Those attending Thursday's meeting also voiced concerns about Interstate 229, saying cement is falling and needs replacing.

MoDOT engineers are aware of the falling cement but say it's perfectly normal and is part of the concrete settling.

"We have ongoing thoughts towards taking care of those issues and we will be taking care of those.  If we ever thought there was an unsafe condition, we wouldn't have it open," says Rinehart.

By improving roads, they are hopeful more businesses will move to the state.

Since expanding Highway 36, Rinehart says the state has saved money because the route is shorter and truck drivers are able to bypass larger cities in the state.

To learn more about the Missouri Department of Transportation's plans click here.

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