Finley River Transportation Development District
For Immediate Release
October 22, 2020
Preservation in Place: New public-private partnership to improve traffic flow and save 100-year-old bridge
OZARK, Mo. -- Community officials introduced a resolution to establish a new public-private partnership which will help protect and restore the Millpond Bridge -- an iconic symbol of the City of Ozark and Christian County. The Millpond Bridge will remain publicly owned and accessible under this partnership.
The partnership is a collaborative effort between the City of Ozark, Ozark Special Road District, Christian County, the State of Missouri, and Finley Farms, a new community-oriented development on the banks of the Finley River, and is intended to address long standing congestion and infrastructure issues while enhancing overall quality of life.
Under the agreement, a portion of the new sales tax revenue from visitors coming solely to the revitalized Ozark Mill will be dedicated to the proposed transportation improvements. The Finley Farms developer will also directly support many of the enhancements under terms of the Transportation Development District and help enhance the vision for a more connected and accessible recreational area along the river.
The partnership will also serve as a catalyst for additional community enhancements. New bike lanes and pedestrian walkways that connect to a regional trail system reflect a pedestrian-friendly approach. The failing Finley River dam will also be repaired where floodwater has caused ongoing deterioration. A key recreational feature in the area, the dam plays a critical role in flood mitigation, protection of the Millpond Bridge foundation from flood impacts and positively contributes to area home values and recreational opportunities.
“We are incredibly excited to announce this partnership to our residents who love the Millpond Bridge and what it represents to our community,” said Ozark City Administrator Steve Childers. “By creating a public-private partnership with these other entities, we are now able to save the Millpond Bridge and begin the process to improve traffic flow in this area and enhance overall quality of life for our residents.”
Improving Traffic Flow
The Transportation Development District and current construction of MoDOT projects will implement a series of improvement projects intended to enhance overall traffic flow and safety throughout the area near downtown Ozark. The enhancements are based off recommendations from a comprehensive traffic study that identified solutions to alleviate current congestion issues. Key improvements slated to begin in early 2021 include:
• Reconstruction of the 3Rd St./McCracken Road Intersection.
• Adding a right turn lane at 3rd Street and West Jackson Street
• Adding an additional westbound lane on West Jackson prior to the intersection
• Adding a free-flow right turn lane from W. Jackson to NN
• Adding two left turn lanes from NN to W. Jackson
• Adding several box culvert improvements to reduce traffic closures during flooding near the 3Rd St. intersection.
• Improving pedestrian connections between the downtown area, park, schools and residential areas.
Three years ago, the Missouri Department of Transportation determined the poor structural integrity of the 100-year Millpond Bridge could result in its permanent closure and recommended that planning for the replacement of the bridge
should be considered. However, due to rising flood elevations and modern construction requirements that would require the acquisition of private land, a new bridge in the same location was determined to be financially unfeasible.
In order to protect the bridge and maintain public access, the Transportation Development District will reinforce the bridge’s structural integrity. Consistent with the recently completed engineer’s traffic study recommendations, the bridge and surrounding portion of McCracken Road will be converted to one-way use in the future, along with the addition of a two-way bike and pedestrian lane to support ongoing access to other important public facilities like the park and the downtown area.
Importantly, the bridge will not be converted to one-way use until all other area traffic flow enhancement projects are complete, minimizing the impact to residents. The long-term effect of the enhancements will allow local residents to maintain convenient access while reorienting exiting Finley Farms visitor traffic toward local businesses in downtown Ozark.
Media Contact: Samantha Payne, PIO City of Ozark, Missouri Phone: (417) 581-7002 ext 2001 Email: email@example.com