July 11, 2002

MoDOT Finalizes Hard Surface Transition On Miller Bottom Road

The commute from the Rutledge area to Memphis and vice-versa got quite a bit easier this past week when the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) installed a hard surface roadway on Route MM, which is better know as Miller Bottom Road.

The 2.5 mile stretch of roadway has undergone a two-year transition from a gravel county road to a hard-surfaced state route.

Workers from the local MoDOT maintenance department began the hard-surface process on June 24. The pre-mix road material was purchased from a private contractor and hauled tot he MoDOT shed in Memphis for placement on the roadway.

"Roughly 75 percent of the state's roads are constructed from this pre-mix material, also called hot mix," said MoDOT District Three Engineer Mark Giessinger. "The other roads, like Highway 136 use a hot-mix material."

Initially when the states hard surfaced roads were constructed, the Miller Bottom Road route was bypassed because there was not a bridge over the Fabius River. Instead the state route used Highway 15 to Route M to get from Memphis to Rutledge.

This project began more than a decade a ago when county officials suggested making Route MM hard surfaced since the county had built a bridge across the river.

However MoDOT was unable to take on any new ideas. Former State Representative Jim Sears proposed the idea to trade Route MM to the state for a MoDOT maintained roadway in the county. He worked with county officials as well as MoDOT to make the transition possible.

Two years ago the county began the process by widening the roadway and doing preliminary dirt work, installing additional gravel and moving ditches.

"This process included building banked curves, a better roadway template and many other improvements well beyond the surface, all of which the county played a big role in, so it was definitely a joint effort," Giessinger said. "Another big part of the plan was the adjoining landowners who donated the property along the road to allow it to be widened. That was a big help."

Route MM now has a 22' wide driving surface. But the project is not fully complete.

"Pre-mix is an ongoing process," Giessinger said. "Next year we likely will come in with additional surface material to fix any trouble spots and to improve the overall surface and this likely will occur for two or three years before we get the roadway the way we want it and then turn it over to the basic maintenance program."

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