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07 July 2011

Denison: Improving Missouri's 911 System, Sound Barriers Along Highway 65

“There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.” –Henry Ford

Interim Committee Will Look at Ways to Improve Missouri’s 911 System

Another interim House committee announced recently by House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, will spend the next several months studying ways to update and improve the state’s aging 911 emergency services system. Missouri House Speaker Tilley said he created the Interim Committee on 911 Access to find ways to bring uniformity to what some have called a patchwork of systems.

“Technology has improved at a rapid pace but the systems our municipalities use to provide emergency services have not kept up with the advances,” said Tilley. “One of the biggest issues we see is that our 911 call centers are funded by a surcharge on landlines but the majority of users have moved away from landlines to cell phones. The result is a lack of funding that has prevented call centers from upgrading equipment to provide a reliable system that is compatible with current technology.”

Tilley said he expects the committee to look at ways to provide the funding necessary to improve 911 emergency service systems across the state. The legislature has seen bills filed in recent years to allow local governments to add a charge to cell phone users’ monthly bills to fund 911 call centers. Tilley said that a statewide user fee is another option that has been looked at in the past, but pointed to two rejected ballot measures as an indication that voters do not support a fee increase to pay for 911 service. Missouri is the only state in the nation without a statewide fee for wireless 911 service.

In the District

Construction for the new noise barriers along Highway 65 has begun this week and will be installed in the residential areas and in some of the business areas as per the original contract. This process will be ongoing until the six lanes are complete. Please see news release below.

Also, you may have noticed the east and west ramps for Highway 60 over the railroad tracks are beginning to take shape.

Following is the MoDOT news release:

Construction of Five Sound Walls Begins Along Route 65 in Springfield

MoDOT, Southwest District, Springfield -- A project to build noise-reducing barriers, or sound walls, in five locations along Route 65 in Springfield is scheduled to begin Tuesday, July 5, the Missouri Department of Transportation said. The work for the next few weeks will include clearing trees and brush. Beginning the week of July 11, crews will begin building footings for the new sound walls.

Traffic Impacts:
Much of the sound wall construction work will take place AWAY from traffic. However, it may be necessary at times for crews to close lanes of Route 65 during nighttime hours. Lane closings will be possible 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Sound Wall Locations:
  • Chestnut Expressway to Catalpa Street on southbound side of Route 65
  • Bennett Street to Sunshine Street on southbound side of Route 65
  • Battlefield Road to Gasconade Street on both sides of Route 65
  • Republic Road to Route 60 on the southbound side of Route 65
In December 2009, property owners living along Route 65 were given the chance to vote on whether they wished to have sound walls built adjacent to their homes. Seven locations were proposed. Only five locations were approved by the property owners.

Sound walls were proposed as part of the widening of Route 65 to six lanes between I-44 and Route 60 in Springfield. Under federal guidelines, the noise-reducing barriers are offered to property owners when noise increases to a certain level as lanes are added. The walls are proposed only if the barriers can effectively reduce noise.

The prime contractor on the project is Archer Western Contractors of Chicago, Ill., doing the work for a low bid amount of $4 million. The project is scheduled for completion by May 2012.

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

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