The stretch of highway south of Jefferson City to Camdenton has been included in the 2018-2022 draft STIP for funding in 2018 to complete the safety improvements.

Recommendations from a multi-disciplinary task force assigned with reviewing a 100-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 54 from Camdenton to Mexico, Mo. in 2016 has been included on the Missouri Department of Transportation latest draft of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

Additional signage, including “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs along with guard cable rails and high-friction surface treatments, have been planned as part of ongoing improvements targeted for stretches of the highway running through the Lake of the Ozarks and elsewhere in mid-Missouri.

According to MoDOT Central District Engineer Bob Lynch, the work to be done from Jefferson City north to Mexico is already under contract for 2017 and has been included in ongoing projects undertaken by MoDOT this year.

The stretch of highway south of Jefferson City to Camdenton has been included in the 2018-2022 draft STIP for funding in 2018 to complete the safety improvements. Lynch said the first segment of road, from Camdenton to Route KK, will begin in 2018 as MoDOT will install guardrail along that section and additional signage, as well as high friction surface treatment for a curve just west of Big Surf Waterpark in Linn Creek.

Instead of contracting out the work to replace and add additional signage, Lynch said MoDOT will use its own maintenance department and go “above and beyond” what is currently required by state and federal standards to install additional signage.

The task force - staffed with members of the Missouri Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Missouri State Highway Patrol - examined wrong-way, curve and cross-median crash data for a five-year period starting from Jan. 1, 2011 to July 19, 2016 and also physically visited several crash sites. The audit was requested by State Rep. Rocky Miller (R-Lake Ozark) after a series of fatal wrong-way accidents on Highway 54 in July 2016.

A total of seven curved areas have been targeted to receive high-friction surface treatment - a hard, aggregate substance that resists tire wear and provides additional traction. These areas include the portion of highway between Route A and Route Y and between the Grand Glaize Bridge and Passover Road in Camden County. Additionally, MoDOT has identified stretches of highway from Osage Beach to Camdenton and Jefferson City to Osage Beach to install guard cable rails.

According to the audit, the 100-mile corridor experienced 10 wrong-way crashes in the past five years resulting in 11 fatalities. In nine out of 10 of those crashes, the wrong-way driver was either impaired physically, by a medical condition or drugs or alcohol.

Although the effectiveness of signage has been debated, especially when drugs and alcohol are involved, Lynch is hopeful in state-wide efforts to reduce these kinds of traffic crashes.

“It’s a really statewide effort, St. Louis and Kansas City have wrong way drivers, they’re actually coming on interchange ramps the wrong way,” Lynch said. “Why? Why do people get confused? It happens in all locations across the state.”

Other Lake area projects in the draft 2018-2022 Highway and Bridge Construction Schedule:

Camden County

Pavement improvements on the southbound and northbound lanes from 0.6 mile north of Pier Thirty One Road to near Highway 7 south junction on Highway 5.

Pavement and improvement from Highway 7 to Route. 64 in Lebanon on Highway. 5.

Bridge improvements over the Lake of the Ozarks on US-54.

Bridge improvements over Minnow Brook Creek on Route D.

Bridge improvements over Niangua and Rainwater Branch 3.6 miles south of Route. 7 on Route J.

Pavement and shoulder improvements from US-54 to end of state maintenance. Includes pavement improvements on Bus. 54, Route MM, Osage Beach Parkway and Route 242 in Camden County and Bus. 54 in Miller County.

Miller and Morgan Counties

Pavement improvements from north of Route 28 to 0.5 mile north of I-44 at Rolla on US-63, includes new climbing lane at Route 68 near Vichy.

Pavement improvements from Route 242 to I-44 Spur and from I-44 to Route. 32 in Texas County on Highway. 17. Two disconnected sections.

Pavement and shoulder improvements from Iberia to US-63 on Highway 42.

Construct interchange at Bagnell Dam Boulevard and Osage Hills Road on US-54. $1,760,000 from open container funds.

Preventative maintenance on eight bridges in Miller County and one bridge in Cole County on US-54.

Bridge improvements at Bagnell Dam on Bus. 54.

Bridge improvements over Tavern Creek on Route A.

Bridge improvements over Deane Creek on Route C.

Pavement and shoulder improvements from Route 42 to Route 133 / Route 17 in Crocker on Route U. Pavement improvements on Route M from US-63 to Route J in Phelps County and Route T from Highway 133 to Highway 17 near Paynesville. Potential pedestrian facility improvements in Crocker.

Pavement improvements from Pettis County to 0.1 mile west of Bus. 50 west at California on US-50.

Pavement improvements from near the Benton County line to Route. 5 at Versailles on Highway 52.

Bridge improvements over Richland Creek on Route BB.

Pavement and shoulder improvements from Highway 54 near Versailles to Jefferson City on Route C.

Bridge improvements over Messer Creek on Route PP.

Pavement and shoulder improvements from Highway 52 to end of state maintenance. Includes pavement and shoulder improvements on Route W from 1.1 miles east of Route. 52 in Versailles to Route Y in Miller County. $2,163,000 from Open Container funds.