Work Continuing on U.S. Route 63 Corridor Study

Machelle Watkins
June 10, 2024|

By MACHELLE WATKINS

In 2009, the Missouri Dept. of Transportation completed an environmental impact study that looked at improving safety, traffic flow and continuity on approximately 47 miles of U.S. Route 63 between U.S. Route 50 in Osage County, Mo. and the city of Rolla, Mo.

This area experiences significant congestion – especially in Westphalia, Vienna and other small communities – and a higher-than-expected crash rate. Relocating sections on new alignments, improving the existing route and providing a four-lane divided highway connecting similar highway segments (except in Vichy, Mo.) will improve safety and reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

The Meramec Regional Planning Commission placed the section from U.S. Route 50 in Osage County to Rolla as its highest priority unfunded need. The project moved onto MoDOT’s High Priority Unfunded Needs List as a Tier 2 need, then moved to Tier 1, then to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, which is MoDOT’s five-year strategic plan of roadway improvements.

By the time it was included in the STIP, projected for Fiscal Year 2027, more than 10 years had lapsed since the EIS was completed. The Federal Highway Administration and the National Environmental Protection Act required reevaluating the EIS and confirming the Preferred Alternative that was presented in 2009.

MoDOT and its consultant are in the final stages of that re-evaluation, and preliminary design discussions have begun for the realignment of U.S. Route 63 around Westphalia. Prior to the letting, currently planned for January 2027, MoDOT will provide the public with opportunities in person and online to review and comment on the proposed final alignment and improvements.

For more information, and to stay updated as the EIS reevaluation is completed and design progresses, visit: U.S. Route 63 Environmental Impact Study in Osage, Maries, and Phelps | Missouri Department of Transportation (modot.org).

Machelle Watkins is the district engineer for Missouri Dept. of Transportation’s Central District.

 

About the Author: Machelle Watkins

Machelle Watkins

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