Hollister officials last week stressed that a proposed road connecting U.S. 65 with eastern Hollister will have great safety benefits.
County officials are waiting until December to know if a grant from a Missouri Department of Transportation will come through. The Taney County Commission, however, has pledged to pay 25 percent of the $30 million cost for what is being called the Taney County Expressway project.
The road would run from Industrial Park Drive in Hollister to Hollister schools and the newly renovated Coon Creek Road, which connects to 76.
The road will provide an alternative route for much of the traffic that clogs East Missouri 76 during morning and evening rush hours. It will also allow a route to and from Hollister schools that does not involve BB Highway or the St. James intersection with Business 65.
According to Hollister City Administrator Rick Ziegenfuss, who gave an overview of the project to the city’s aldermen last week, school buses and trucks will no longer have to use BB Highway, which has a 10-to-12% grade with a curve.
“And (Western Taney County Fire Protection District) Fire Station No. 5 will no longer be fighting as much traffic on BB,” Ziegenfuss said.
He also said the city’s police department will have better access to the schools. When a new police department facility is completed on Birch Street, officers will have a very short drive to the Expressway, then on to the schools.
Hollister Mayor David Tate reminded everyone that Hollister has been in favor of this route for many years.
“I know way back, years ago, when this was a concept, Hollister’s position was always the safety factor,” Tate said. “I’m glad to see it finally coming to a head.”
Ziegenfuss also said the school district would save a lot of money on fuel because buses would not fight as much traffic. However, Hollister Superintendent Brian Wilson said safety was the primary concern.
“For us it was a safety issue,” Wilson said after Ziegenfuss’ presentation. “The amount of buses going (on BB Highway), that’s what we researched.”
If built, the road will also be accessed from Birch Street just south of Menards. That road and Industrial Park Drive will join at what is now the end of Industrial Park Drive, in front of the Branson Tri-Lakes News office.