The construction project will add a turning lane from Highway 63 to the east entrance of Thayer High School. Lendall Husky, Area Engineer with Missouri Department of Transportation, said, "The first step was creating new driveways to entrances of Wal-Mart and the Thayer School campus. They will help with the widening of the lanes. A contractor is coming in the week of July 9 to begin the widening." Shortly after the widening work is completed, asphalt will be poured to finish the project. Husky said the work should be finished before school starts in August.
MODOT spokesperson Pete Barry, said, "It has been a while, but we knew the community wanted the three lane section, and we were able to get the funding to improve the lane situation." When asked how funding was available for the project Barry answered, "Highway 142 was due for an overlaying treatment to the surface, so we were able to go ahead with the widening of the lane section in Thayer."
During public meetings last year, Thayer citizens identified before and after school traffic congestion as the top traffic problem that needed to be addressed in the community. While MODOT sent engineers to look for solutions, the agency reorganized and cut back some of its operations in the area. But, despite cutbacks, the road widening project was able to move forward.
Thayer School superintendent, Don Chappell, said the new changes will be very beneficial to the parents and students. "The third lane will make the road safer for the kids, and help the flow through of traffic," said Chappell. MODOT created four new entrances for the high school and elementary, pulled out a culvert and did some excavating work.
Chappell said, "We have to give credit to the crews for working out in this heat. They came in at 2:00 in the morning at one point to keep working. The crew has been very helpful and always kept at least one entrance open for us. It is a much needed change and MODOT has been very easy to work with."
Barry also added that MODOT will be putting two feet wide shoulders along each side of the road, with rumble strips, on Highway 142 east all the way to Highway EE in the Couch area. "There are so many routes without shoulders, and we are trying to add as many as we can," said Barry, about additional highway work residents of the area will be seeing.