While MoDOT’s gesture of good will to replace Osage Beach signage along the Expressway is appreciated, it falls short of addressing the real problem faced by businesses along Osage Beach Parkway ― improving traffic flow through the city including reopening of the west end of the Parkway.
The state agency has agreed to spend more than a quarter million dollars to change out Osage Beach signs in hopes of directing more traffic off the Expressway and into town. That decision does address the cries for help from some business owners and others who believe the short-sighted signage is to blame for the economic woes of the West Enders, e.g. businesses west of the Grand Glaize Bridge.
The problem was created when the Parkway was literally dead-ended near Lazy Days Road, preventing motorists from flowing easily through the city. MoDOT officially has stopped short of admitting mistakes were made when the Expressway was designed. That appears to be painfully obvious. Most of the Osage Beach Board of Aldermen, and even some staffers, say privately it has become an embarrassing boondoggle.
The dead ending of the Parkway, and the feeble effort to re-route motorists through a deadly Key Largo Road access to the Expressway, has caused some local residents and officials to shake their heads in disbelief.
How effective the changeover in signage will be could take years to monitor. Spending $251,000 or more may be for naught. Yes, it will appease some motorists and business owners. It’s a weak short-term solution to a long-term issue. The money, along with an estimated $156,000 for an improved acceleration lane from Key Largo onto the Expressway, may have been better spent toward designing an overpass as some have argued.
In the meantime, a solution is on the table that seems to satisfy the budgets of MoDOT and the city of Osage Beach, and seems to pacify business owners. Long term, MoDOT should give serious thought how to erase the stain on the city’s west end, and the entire Osage Beach Parkway economy.