The business and property owners cast into limbo by the state’s failure to engineer a logical connection between the stretch of old Highway 54 past Route KK have become the Dead Enders.

An appropriate appellation for what was done to them by the Missouri Department of Transportation. They have been demanding for months that someone do something to help them. The result has been a cobbled-up approach that does not, they say, address their need.

Confronted with representatives of the West End business community at a recent meeting, one Osage Beach alderman asked why they had gone from “hurry, hurry” to “stop, stop.”

The answer is simple: These business people have their livelihoods and property values at stake. They want to get it right this time and begin the process of putting their retail community back together.

The Dead Enders see that maybe the solution of a drift lane and some signage will work but maybe it won’t. When your future is on the line, maybe doesn’t cut it.

The group is calling for private/public funding of a study to determine what could be done to solve, not patch, their problem. Obviously underwhelmed with the response they have gotten from the city and state, they want some data upon which to base a solution that will actually rectify their problem. They want the government entities that stuck them on an island to help them get on a retail raft

Not unreasonable.

We have said before that the west end of the 54/Expressway project was given scant attention by MoDOT. The initial design cost lives, then the “solution” to the Key Largo intersection disaster put the Dead Enders along a road to nowhere. You simply can’t get there from here easily, one of the most important element in retail success.

Osage Beach officials should get that these business and property owners deserve all the attention in the world. These same officials have bent over backward to bring outside retailers to town. The West End businesses have been here all along and are getting a lot less consideration.

We suggest the city undertake to be the finders of a real solution. MoDOT is obviously only willing to do the minimum. The West End business community deserves more.