Revitalizing the Branson corridor
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Linda Van Hoosen, Communications
It’s estimated that 8.5 million visitors drive or walk through the Highway 76 corridor each year in Branson. The 5-mile “strip,” which is home to theaters and tourist attractions, is undergoing a massive transformation. Olsson Associates was originally hired to manage the construction phases of the project, which began in August 2016. A month later, Olsson took over as program manager for the entire project – both its design and its construction.
Once complete, the new Highway 76 will be easier for pedestrians to traverse. However, better sidewalks and aren’t the only benefits of the improvements. The entire project consists of four basic components:
- Water transmission line along the entire corridor
The line will strengthen the city’s water distribution system.
- Duct bank
Olsson is putting in conduits underground to bring down the overhead utility cables and run them through the duct bank. The process will eliminate power poles along the corridor. Olsson is also working with the utility companies to help the city recover costs of the investment of building the duct bank.
- Surface improvements
A decorative pedestrian walk way will give visitors easier access to the attractions along Highway 76. The surface improvements also include landscaping, new traffic signals, street lighting, and pedestrian lighting, which will complement the landscaping. Benches, seat walls, and resting areas are also included.
- Entertainment technology
This component has yet to be designed, but the technology will feature some amenities for tourists, such as light or water features, audio, and way-finding.
“All of these improvements will pave the way for future attractions and businesses, and more visitors, especially those on foot,” said Mike Yost, Olsson senior project manager. “The corridor will feel like a theme park.”
As program manager for the city, Olsson is involved with acquiring easements for private properties and coordinating with the Missouri Department of Transportation because they have a stake in the project.
“Olsson is also helping the city apply for and administer various grants and loans to help pay for the approximate $100 million improvements,” Mike said.
It will take an estimated six years to complete the project.