Our good roads will stay for a few more years. But their decay will become noticeable about the time the transportation department’s latest five-year road plan runs out.
Federal recovery funds will keep Missouri’s road-building and repair program humming along for a year or so but the funding drops precipitously until the state will have less available after the fifth year than it spends on maintenance now.
Chief engineer Kevin Keith says we’ll start to see fewer orange barrels…And then community leaders looking for the next improvement will notice the new interchange isn’t being built. Three to five years later, he says, the average Missourian might say, "Hey, my roads are getting worse."
He thinks the soonest state lawmakers and transportation supporters could put a new proposal out for discussion would be next year—and he thinks that’s an optimistic prediction.
Keith thinks the department might become a victim of its own success—that the major improvements made in the last five years could delay public realization of the coming problems. But he says the newest improvements that are being made will be the last major projects for some time—and it will take years for the public to notice the problem…and react.