HILLSBORO, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation is planning a huge highway project on Interstate 55 in Jefferson County. The 12-mile stretch of road goes from Highway Z to Missouri 67. MoDOT says it’s a scene of numerous highway back-ups and about 1,000 accidents.
MoDOT District Engineer Tom Blair told investigator Elliott Davis that the time is now to fix the problems.
“Everyone that drives I-55 in Jefferson County knows that there is reoccurring traffic congestion. There are crashes that have been occurring; this project will improve those conditions; it will make I-55 in Jefferson County safer and more reliable,” said Blair.
Among other things the project involves adding a third lane to the two-lane stretch of highway. They will also demolish or repair more than a dozen bridges.
Blair admits it’s not cheap: “It is a lot of money. It costs a lot of money to build, operate, and maintain the transportation system. I-55 has 70,000 vehicles a day. A large percentage is truck traffic. This is an important corridor not only to Jefferson County but to our state’s economy.”
MoDOT will get a lot of federal help on the project too.
“This money, $246 million, is generated from our user fees that we pay in the state of Missouri. It is largely fuel taxes and our federal transportation dollars that are given to the state of Missouri from the national level.”
Construction will start in January or February 2024 and will be completed by the end of 2026.