Motorists on the east side of Jefferson City now have a working interchange at Highway 50-63 and City View Drive.
The crossover opened Thursday morning in what officials described as a major lift to highway safety and to economic development.
The road to this day has been long and rocky, no pun intended. Antagonistic property owners and skeptical taxpayers provided more than a few political challenges.
"We do need to be brought to task at times for what we do and point out that there are other opinions," Cole County Commissioner Chris Wrigley told the group gathered for the ribbon cutting. "But, in the end, we all do what we think is right for the majority of the folks involved."
Clearly, the City View interchange was prompted by the interest of Wal-mart in putting a new supercenter at that location. Wal-mart paid nearly a third of the total grading contract to prepare its building site.
Much of the store's exterior work there is already finished - and the company expects to open for business by February.
While they do not discount the economic development value of the new interchange, MoDOT officials prefer to emphasize the motoring and pedestrian traffic dangers which have been elminated here.
"This interchange will remove four crossovers that have been the location of many accidents in the past," noted Roger Schwartze, MoDOT'S District 5 Engineer.
The City View project also features the first roundabout accesses in the state highway system. These circular traffic channels eliminate the need for stoplights.
Engineers say there is only one simple rule to remember: "You never make a left turn," said Schwartze. "Always go to the right when you come up to a roundabout."
Next on the horizon is a new underpass on Highway 179, between Edgewood and Route "C".
Another state, city, county joint effort, this interchange will provide access to the site of the new St. Mary's Health Center."
"The funds from MoDOT for the St. Mary's project are economic development funds," reminded Jefferson City Mayor John Landwehr. "We really look forward to rolling up our sleeves on yet another cooperative project."
Roger Schwartze says bids for the 179 project won't be taken for another year. And not all the work is done at the City View site. Access roads coming in from Schott road and Expressview Drive may not be finished until the end of the year.