WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded a $2.5 million grant in Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG) to support the construction of a railroad overpass on U.S. Highway 160 and Independence Drive, replacing an at-grade railway and highway intersection.
“This construction project is a personal mission of mine. The frequent railroad traffic in West Plains not only halts traffic, it halts the local economy,” said Rep. Jason Smith. “Building an overpass will help local Missourians travel faster and spur new economic development. More importantly this overpass will improve safety, allowing for the passage of emergency vehicles that are all too often stopped due to trains on the railway. It also allows the city’s third-largest employer, DRS Land Systems, the ability to move forward with their expansion plan that will create new jobs in the West Plains area.”
The total cost of this project is estimated to be approximately $9.7 million. The project has the overwhelming support of local employers and officials, including Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Missouri Department of Transportation, Leonardo-DRS Land Systems, Mayor West Plains Jack Pahlmann, West Plains city staffers, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, Missouri Senators Mike Cunningham and Karla Eslinger, Missouri State Reps. David Evans and Travis Smith, West Plains City Council members Mike Topliff, Jessica Nease, Johnny Murrell and Josh Cotter, Howell County Clerk Kelley Wagonner, The City of West Plains Fire and Police Departments Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Robert Dixon, City of West Plains Fire and Police Departments, and city and local officials.