New STIP Project List Calls for Further Highway 21 Paving in 2019
BOWLING GREEN – The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, or “STIP,” approved last week by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, will enable the Missouri Department of Transportation to protect the current condition of state highways and bridges – a $54 billion asset that carries a $125 billion replacement cost. The 2018-2022 STIP is Mo- DOT’s list of projects that are planned by state and regional agencies. The draft STIP was released in May for public review and comment. “It’s our commitment to our customers for the next five years,” said MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. Transportation Planning Director Machelle Watkins told commissioners the STIP includes 605 new projects that invest in 2,247 lane-miles of interstate pavements, 3,302 miles of major route pavements, 7,462 miles of minor route pavements and 499 bridges. Missouri has the nation’s seventh largest state highway system with 33,873 miles of roadways and 10,394 bridges. At almost the same time the 2018-2022 list was being released, workers are preparing to begin the 2017-2021 paving on Hwy. 21 beginning at Hwy. K on the north end of Ellington and extending north on Hwy. 21 for 20.15 miles to Centerville. The project has already been contracted, and work is currently scheduled to begin in August and be finished in November of this year. In addition to covering both lanes with a one-inch compacted “thin-lift overlay,” the project will also replace all guardrails on the stretch of road, and extend the shoulders. During the approximately four-month-long project, drivers will need to watch for flagging and pilot cars as traffic will be slowed until completion. Fulfilling MoDOT’s commitment to transparency and accountability, this STIP includes more detailed project information for non-highway modes of transportation compared to prior STIPs, and also includes a new section detailing the planned operations and maintenance activities for the upcoming year, alongside expenditures for those same activities in the prior year. This additional information is provided to allow Missourians to more easily see how their transportation funding is invested. “Our legislature and the citizens of Missouri have told us loud and clear to take care of this system. This plan does just that,” McKenna said. “We focus limited resources on maintaining current conditions through every region of the state. However, limited funding enables us to only tread water. We improve roads and bridges at the same rate that others fall into disrepair.” The 2018-2022 STIP – which projects the paving of another 20 miles of Hwy. 21 north in 2018 – lists transportation projects for fiscal years 2018 through 2022 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022). It may be found on the Mo- DOT website at www.modot.org.