BRANSON, Mo. — Branson city leaders and crews are ready to move ahead with the transformation of Highway 76, the “artery to the heartbeat of Branson.” Wednesday, January 5th marks the beginning of a long-awaited effort to begin taking power lines down.
Gail Myer, the President of West 76 Community Improvement District Board said he’s happy to see the power lines come down. “It’s really gratifying,” Myer said, “This has been a long, long journey to get to the point where we now can do the second part of our first phase, which is pulling the power lines down and start undergrounding.”
Last year, the 76 Community Improvement District agreed to pay the funds needed for the city to pay local utility companies to put power lines along the strip underground.
Carrie Hardin, who manages businesses along Highway 76, is excited about the change too. “I’m excited because people will be able to see the beautiful landscape and people will be able to see where they’re going instead of having to slow down and see poles block their view of the road names.” She says the improvements already made to sidewalks have already encouraged more people to walk and bike in the area.
Myer says visually, getting the power lines out of the way will make a big difference and will hopefully make customers and citizens happy. The project has been a true collaboration between the Community Improvement District and the City of Branson. Myer says the entire project to revamp 76 will cost a total of about 60 million dollars.
The next step in the project is to find design and engineering firms for the portion of 76 west of the Ferris wheel. “We’re forging full ahead to find the next phase of construction,” Myer told Ozarks First. “We just believe that we have the opportunity to amplify our theaters and attractions and improve the place and the feel of that corridor.”
Keith Francis, Director of Public Works and Engineering in Branson, says getting the power lines underground was one of the main goals of the Highway 76 project. Francis says to expect to see big trucks, wire, cable, and plenty of work along 76. He asks drivers to be mindful of workers. Francis said the work will be worth it, predicting, “I’d say it’s going to look 110% better.”