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MODOT project list includes passing lanes for highway 171;Driver - KOAM TV 7

MODOT project list includes passing lanes for highway 171;Drivers glad calling it dangerous

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Proposed passing lanes for highway 171 Proposed passing lanes for highway 171
JASPER COUNTY, MISSOURI -   Missouri voters are asked to comment on transportation projects to be funded under Amendment 7.

   That calls for a three-quarter cent sales tax to fund transportation projects across the state.

 Tonight MODOT  conducted an open house at the Chamber of Commerce office,  hoping to get comments on a list of road and bridge projects planned for the Southwest district.   Items could be dropped or added from the list based on public comment.

 On that list is a proposal to add passing lanes to highway 171.

The Highway 171 corridor connecting Kansas to Missouri is a busy stretch of road.  And a dangerous one according to driver Kevin Hamilton who makes the daily commute to work  from Pittsburg to Joplin.

Hamilton says, “Couple years back just past Asbury, on my way to Joplin, a car pulled out into my lane and we hit head on. It was a head on collision, affected 3 or 4 drivers, totaled 3 cars,  and in my opinion I’m lucky to be alive. But. I've seen a lot of accidents and there’s a lot of very difficult places to pass on that road.”

MODOT’s proposed plan would add a handful of increment  passing lanes, each a mile long.

MODOT officials say, at a million dollars for each passing lane,  it’s an economical way to increase the capacity of traffic on the highway which is already heavy.

MODOT Assistant District Engineer Dan Salisbury says, “We've known for years, long term we'd like to 4 lane the corridor, but when you look at all the needs in Southwest Missouri and the money available, there’s never enough money.”

KOAM  talked to folks filling up at the gas station in Asbury. Whether local or just passing through all feel passing lanes would make the highway safer.

Jack Washburn says, “Yes, yes,  I think it would be good to have passing lanes because so many  times the trucks get slowed down  and it’s really hard to get by.  Passing lane would be great, I  think.”

Mallory Mathis, who’s driving through for work says passing lanes are, “Just for better  traffic, better ways to get around.”

 Hamilton says, “On highway 171, you'll have ten cars stacked up behind one car doing 50mph and50 mphpeople  are going to  try to pass multiple cars on on that road. You're not just trying to pass one car,  you're trying to pass 3, 4, 5 cars and that’s where it gets really  dangerous.”

Jennifer Alford who works at the Asbury Quik Stop and lives nearby says, “There are multiple cars trying to dodge oncoming traffic.”

Washburn says he's ok with upping the sales tax to pay for it.

“It’s the only way isn't it. Everybody  pays that way, not just one or two.”

Including Hamilton who’s from Kansas but drives 171 twice every day. He says, “It’s a terrific idea and I hope they move forward with this project.”

 MODOT will continue taking comments through July third.

     to see the complete project list click here.

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