In 1956, Missouri became the birthplace of the nation's interstate system by becoming the first state to award a contract under the Federal-Aid Highway Act. Today the Show Me State again made history by being the first state in the nation to award and begin construction on transportation projects funded by the federal economic recovery package signed by President Barack Obama.

The first economic recovery project in the nation is in Miller County on Route 17. Construction began within moments of the president's signature to replace the Osage River Bridge one mile east of Tuscumbia at a cost of $8.5 million. Other Missouri highway projects under construction starting today include:

  • Barry/Lawrence/Christian/Greene Counties, Route 60 - Construct alternating/intermittent passing lanes from east of Chapell Drive in Monett to Kansas Avenue in Republic. $8.7 million
  • Clinton County, Interstate 35 - Resurface northbound and southbound lanes from north of Shoal Creek to north of Route 116 near Lathrop. $14.6 million
  • Pemiscot/New Madrid Counties, Interstate 55 - Pavement rehabilitation on northbound and southbound lanes from I-155 to Scott County. $18.4 million

"Today the Show Me State again showed the nation we are leaders in transportation by having the first economic recovery act project in the country under construction," Missouri Department of Transportation Director Pete Rahn said. "We promised we would be ready to go to make the best use of every dollar we receive through the economic recovery act to create jobs and make our highways safer. We delivered on that promise and then some."

Missouri will receive approximately $637 million for road and bridge projects and an estimated $150 million to address air, rail, transit, waterway and pedestrian projects throughout the state. That amount of work will create an estimated 14,000 jobs and have an estimated $2.4 billion impact on the state's economy.

"We're taking this aggressive approach to demonstrate that funding for transportation infrastructure can and will provide the direct and immediate economic jumpstart our nation and state need," Rahn said. "We will use every penny sent to our state to improve our roads and bridges and we will be ready to put additional money not used by other states to work in Missouri."

The benefits of this additional work would go beyond those building the projects to suppliers, retailers, restaurants, hotels and other businesses Rahn added.

A complete list of the projects MoDOT is ready to tackle can be found at www.modot.org/firstinnation.