One member of the Missouri House hopes the Senate takes efforts to improve Interstate 44 seriously.

A small section of Missouri’s longest interstate runs though the district of State Rep. Don Mayhew, R-Crocker. He said that stretch of I-44 has some critical needs.

“(The) pavement’s in pretty poor shape, especially that section there between Lebanon and Waynesville on I-44 in the eastbound lane,” Mayhew said. “It’s just coming completely apart.”

Mayhew told Missourinet that he thinks resurfacing work for that section has already been scheduled separately from the recently announced “Forward 44” proposal. It would include expanding I-44 to six lanes in and around Joplin, Springfield, and Rolla and making other improvements. Mayhew said upgrades to I-44 are especially needed to improve truck traffic.

“I mean, just from a freight standpoint alone, MoDOT’s own study shows that I-44 carries about eight-and-a-half times the freight tonnage that I-70 does,” he said. “I-44 (has) a direct connection to the Long Beach (California) port facility, which, I think if I remember correctly, handles about 80% of the international trade.”

The $727 million financial package to improve I-44 is included in the Missouri House’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year. It still requires House passage and eventually in the Senate before the governor decides its fate.

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