Re: Why didn't US 71 get a corresponding Interstate route?

On Feb 26, 4:31 pm, "Revive755" <build...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Feb 26, 3:34 pm, "My Land of Misery" <g...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

On Feb 26, 12:07 pm, markr...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx (Mark Roberts) wrote:

Looking back through an extensive set of Missouri official road
maps, I noticed that US 71 seemed to be designated as a major
north-south route fairly early on. It was paved as fast as US 40
was paved across Missouri. It bypassed some cities relatively early
on (Neosho is a good example). It had a long alternate route around
Joplin, too -- in a state where alternate routes tended to be just
short routes within urban areas. In the 1960s and 1970s, much of
US 71 was upgraded at least to expressway status.

So it's obviously considered an important route in Missouri.

Then I find myself wondering why US 71 didn't get an Interstate
counterpart early on. Certainly there's Interstate 29, but it
ends at Kansas City and really can be considered a counterpart
to US 71 only between St. Joseph and Kansas City.

What happened? US 71 doesn't serve any major urban areas in Iowa.
Did that hurt its "case"? It does serve major urban areas in
Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, though. What role did the status
of US 71 in Arkansas play in the decision? Were economic conditions
in southern Missouri and Arkansas a factor? Any answers to these
questions probably amount to speculation, but it's become a point
of curiosity to me. Stipulate Interstate 49 and all that; I'm talking
about history of the 1950s and 1960s here.

Mark Roberts - Oakland, CA - NO HTML MAIL
Permission to archive this article in any form is hereby explicitly denied.
That includes quoting the article in its entirety.

It might have something to do with the long-delayed freeway in KC that
ended up being the modern Watkins Drive. That may have held up the
Interstate status on US 71 further south. The entire expressway has
signs advising of future access closures (in place since at least the
1970s). It is interesting that on the 1970s request map US 71 was not
even covered, while paralleling US 69 between Overland Park and Baxter
Springs was. AFAIK it's now part of the future I-49 corridor though
MoDOT doesn't mess with future Interstate corridor signage (also true
for I-72 and I-66).

Except maybe when there is a contract to build a new section of
interstate, as this photo on Mr. Robert's site suggests:

There is the slight possibility that the number for an interstate
along US 60 in Missouri could be something other than 66 if the
Kentucky sections of I-66 get canceled, so maybe MoDOT doesn't want to
put up future signs if that becomes the case. Or it could be MoDOT
won't be undertaking any expressway to freeway conversions (except for
the occasional interchange like at Moscow Mills on US 61) in the next
50 years given funding.- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -

If you want to get a taste of Missouri's pace of converting
expressways to freeways, look at the current I-64 extension project
between Wentzville and Weldon Spring. IIRC, of the current
Interstates (other than the 3 miles of I-72), I-44 was the last to be
converted to Interstate standard (it had been US66 expressway),
finally done in 1980. If I interpret the Smoother Safer Sooner
program correctly, the big bulk of the spending is maintenance,
especially of over 800 targeted bridges. Other than already-planned
work on future I-64, MO 364 and US 71, I don't see new freeways on the
radar for at least 20 years. Look at MoDOT's track record. Anyone
outside of the KC, StL and Springfield-Branson areas have always been
expected to take it in the shorts and suck it up, and consider
ourselves fortunate that the primary, let alone secondary, roads have
a hard surface instead of mud. I dare anyone to drive MO 6 from
Kirksville to Milan sometime. That road will jar any vehicle and is
in serious need of a rebuild. They even patched one bridge of 1950s
vintage with, get this, steel plate! The roads in that part of MO
might be smoother after a terrorist attack or nuke blast.