The ink barely dried on the President's Economic Recovery Plan today when Missouri announced the awarding a contract to upgrade US 60 between Monett & Republic. The project entails building alternate passing lanes from Chapell Drive in Monett to Kansas Avenue in Republic. Total cost of this project is estimated at $8.7 million (Missouri's share of road/bridge stimulus money comes to around $637 million).
Now, I can't help but wonder how they did that so fast, including holding a press conference. My educated guess is bragging rights. Missouri already has bragging rights for one of the first sections of Interstate highway to let to contract, so I suppose it makes sense in a way to also have bragging rights for one of the first economic stimulus projects to be awarded.
That aside, US 60 is in major need of upgrading. From the Oklahoma State Line to just east of Republic, US 60 is primarily a 2-lane highway. A new bridge and additional lanes were completed just last year in Monett and the roadway in Republic was just widened 3-4 years ago. Otherwise, the last major improvements were done circa 1960 when US 60 was re-routed around Monett & Aurora. So this is way beyond past due and very much needed. Having family near Springfield, I've driven US 60 many a time over the years and more often than not wind up stuck behind a slow moving truck or a tractor, so I can attest to the need for upgrades.
Now, I don't care about politics. I don't care if this is the first or 101st project Economic Recovery project. I'm just glad to see to see it coming.