Highway 76 Revitalization Project Now Stretches Half Mile
Crews continue digging trenches along Branson’s Highway 76 strip to make space for water and power lines.
The latest stage in the 8-year, $80 million renovation project now includes utility work between Ellen and Francis streets.
Phase 1A of the project now extends a half-mile between Presley’s Country Jubilee and Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
“The [Phase 1A] construction consists of building trenches and putting in new water lines, and also putting in the conduits for the utility lines in the future,” says Jerry Adams, communications specialist for Olsson Associates, the management crew for the project.
He says they have placed barricades, markers and detour signs in order to keep traffic moving and businesses accessible.
Adams adds that many private property owners along the corridor have provided voluntary easements to accommodate the physical space required.
Once crews have built the necessary trenches, waterlines and conduits, they will be constructing permanent curbs, gutters and sidewalks along the highway. Adams believes moving above-ground utilities and power lines below ground will add to the aesthetic value of the roadway.
“The long-term goal is to enhance the appearance of Highway 76 and make it more pedestrian-friendly, so that people who are soaring Highway 76 will stay longer, visit more businesses and increase the tax revenue for the city of Branson,” he said.
He says the improved line of sight along the corridor will allow visitors better opportunities to stop, take pictures and navigate the area. The power lines won’t be installed until all the trenches and conduits are finished, which Adams hopes will be done by next spring.
Last May, property owners along Highway 76 voted to form a community improvement district for the purpose of levying a one percent sales tax to fund the revitalization program.
“The retail sales tax is expected to produce about $400,000 annually,” Adams said. “It will help support what we feel like is a very important initiative in Branson’s future.”