Branson Highway 76 Improvement Project to Start Soon
A multi-year construction project gets underway next week on Branson’s Highway 76, known by many as “the 76 Strip.” KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.
The city of Branson has been planning the project since 2011, according to Larry Schmitt, chair of the Community Improvement District for Highway 76. A recent vote by members of the CID allowed for a one percent sales tax to fund the revitalization.
The project, he said, will include underground utilities, 15-foot-wide pedestrian walkways, sustainable landscaping, bicycle and wheelchair accessibility and unique photo opportunities.
"There'll be icons, there'll be trailways, and it's just a whole project to really create a new destination to Highway 76 in itself," he said.
He said access, safety and traffic flow will all be improved. According to Schmitt, this was a long overdue project. He said 76 had become “an old tired product over the last several years.
"And we need this revitalization so that we can create a vision of the future for Branson to entertain the millions of guests that we see every year," he said.
According to Schmitt, the project will likely have a substantial impact on the number of people who enjoy Branson and who come back to Branson. He expects the revitalization to help spur economic growth and tourist opportunities.
"We've probably got more vacant land on Highway 76 than we've had in a long time. The current business owners--there's substantial money being put on to Highway 76 now from people who already own businesses, and once that gets out to the outside world, it will just create more development for Highway 76," he said.
The first phase, between Presley’s Theater and Ripley’s Believe it or Not, will begin next Tuesday, July 5th. The project is expected to take six to eight years to complete.
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