By LISA SCHLICHTMAN
Barry and Lawrence counties will again benefit from the infusion of federal stimulus package funds. Yesterday afternoon, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) announced that it had awarded contracts for resurfacing work on two area highways.
One project will resurface Highway 39 in Barry and Lawrence counties. A total of 12.1 miles of highway will be resurfaced for a price tag of $489,000. The targeted area begins near Aurora and extends to just north of Route 0 in Jenkins
Highway 86 in Barry County will also receive some attention. That project, which will cost $950,000, will involve a one-inch resurface on 11.8 miles of roadway from Route E/F east to near Stone County. New two-inch shoulders will be added along this stretch of highway as well.
Journagan Construction, of Springfield, was awarded both bids, according to a MoDOT press release. Work is scheduled to begin this spring with completion scheduled for late summer.
In all, there were 32 road resurfacing projects approved statewide on March 4. The projects total $38,992,000, and according to MoDOT's estimations, will support 1,000 jobs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act fund these projects.
"We're aggressive in getting these stimulus projects going for two major reasons," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "We want to put Missourians to work fast, and we want to show that investing in transportation infrastructure provides immediate economic relief."
MoDOT is currently reviewing how the additional, not yet allocated, stimulus money can be used. Under the provisions of the federal bill, 50 percent of the funds must be obligated no later than June 17 and the projects must be completed within three years.
While the infusion of new money is welcomed, Rahn is quick to point out that it does not solve all of Missouri's transportation challenges.
"The $637 million Missouri received in economic stimulus funds is welcome but won't come close to meeting the $31 billion we have in transportation needs over the next 20 years," Rahn said. "Still, it's a step in the right direction."
Just three weeks ago, MoDOT awarded a $8.7 million project to Journagan Construction for the construction of alternating and intermittent passing lanes along 26 miles of Route 60 from east of Chappell Drive in Monett to Kansas Avenue in Republic. This project was one of the very first in the nation to be awarded through the federal stimulus funding package.
In addition to constructing passing lanes that alternate between the eastbound and westbound lanes, the Highway 60 project will also include resurfacing of the highway and adding edge line and centerline rumble stripes along the route.
"New passing lanes will reduce congestion and make Route 60 safer," said Southwest District Engineer Becky Baltz. "Southern Missouri is growing, and this highway carries a lot of commuters."