Missouri lawmaker opposed to highway shutdowns

| 12/4/2007

Concern about traffic congestion has led one Missouri state lawmaker to draft a bill to limit the shutdown of any major highway or interstate in the state.

Rep. Scott Muschany, R-Frontenac, is expected to file legislation this week that would prevent the Missouri Department of Transportation from closing busy roadways for construction for more than 60 consecutive days.

The scheduled shutdown Jan. 2, 2008, of state Route 40 from Interstate 170 to Interstate 270 prompted Muschany to act. He said he has concerns about the economic impact and public safety with traffic diverted to alternate routes, KSDK-TV in St. Louis reported.

Supporters of the effort to prevent closing busy roadways say MoDOT never has completely closed a highway while there was work being done on it.

Opponents say it would lengthen the amount of time needed to complete projects. Transportation officials say such limits would extend the $535 million rebuild of two five-mile sections of Route 40 for six to eight years.

Others say the overall price of construction would increase by 20 percent to 30 percent.

Muschany’s measure can be considered during the regular session that begins Jan. 9, 2008.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor