The construction project that added a turning lane from Highway 63 to the east entrance of Thayer High School, also included a new driving surface for Highway 142. The project began in early July, with the goal to complete it before school began in August.
Thayer High School principal, William Hess said, "The new turning lane has made it a lot safer for the kids driving to school, and more convenient for parents dropping their kids off."
Hess explained that, in past years, traffic would often become backed up when parents were dropping their children off for school. "The vehicles would have to wait on the highway to get to the school grounds to drop their children off, and that created a lot of the backup problem. This year it seems to be much better and things are going well," said Hess.
Parents are especially pleased with the third lane. Lori Hargus, parent of a Thayer Elementary student said, "It has made things easier so far, and I haven't had any problems at all. I have noticed it is a lot smoother and there aren't backups like there were before." Being the mother of a recent high school graduate, Hargus added, "It is going to affect the high school students as well. They would have to wait on us elementary parents to get out of the way before they could turn in to the high school."
The South Missourian News also talked to parent, Kristi Wade, about how the turning lane has made her busy mornings a little smoother. "It has been very helpful because I have to drop my kids off at the school, and then go down the street across from the school to take my younger child to the babysitter. It helps both ways for me," said Wade.
The turning lane not only benefits those going to Thayer School but also people heading east out of Thayer.
In the past, they would have to sit and wait for parents, teachers or students to turn into the school entrances.
Now the flow through of traffic is much better, and the additional lane appears to benefit all drivers in the community.
During a public meeting last year, Thayer citizens identified before and after school traffic congestion as the top traffic problem that needed to be addressed in the community.
Despite cutbacks, MODOT was able to work the road widening project into planned improvements already scheduled for Highway 142.
Previously, MODOT spokesperson Pete Barry told The South Missourian News, "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."