Branson has the Highroad, how can it have traffic congestion problems?

Branson has the Highroad, how can it have traffic congestion problems?

Just in time for summer vacations and the Fourth of July Weekend, Branson received millions of dollars worth of national publicity. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the type of publicity that will enhance Branson’s image. In a “blast from the past” Branson ended up fourth on the American Highway Users Alliance/American Automobile Association’s new report of the top 25 most congested tourist spots in the nation.

“Now hold on there Seagull, that can’t be right. Wasn’t $50 million plus spent to build the Highroad?”

“It sure was.”

“Wasn’t the public justification to build the Highroad that it would solve the traffic congestion problems that were plaguing Branson at the time?”

“It sure was.”

“Well the Highroad was built so how can Branson be on the list as the fourth most congested tourist spot in the nation?”

“Evidently, the Highroad included, because the writers of the report have the perception that Branson has a traffic congestion problem.”

From its inception, common sense and logic cried out that the funds being spent on the Highroad, under the guise of eliminating Branson’s traffic congestion problem, would have been better spent elsewhere to help eliminate or mitigate the problem.

Like the war in Iraq, the rationale and justification for building the Highroad will change to cover the “tails” of those who made the decision but the logic used to justify that decision is a matter of written record and history. Even as our nation continues to pay the price of the war in Iraq, Branson, as a community, will continue to pay the price of the Highroad.

Fortunately, that price will not be as great as it could have been. Even as the city of Branson was “kissing the ring,” playing the political game, and endorsing the Highroad, it was working on the only practical way to solve Branson’s traffic congestion problems. Within the limits of the funding available, it was planning and coordinating with the State and Taney County and building the infrastructure, within Branson, necessary to provide for the safe and efficient transportation of its workers, citizens, and visitors.

In terms of traffic congestion and safety, one can only wonder where Branson would be today, if all the political clout and millions spent on the Highroad had instead been spent on actually trying to solve the problem that it was allegedly being built to solve. Could projects have been developed and their implementation accelerated that would have helped to eliminate more of Branson’s traffic congestion problems?

How many lives could have been saved on Highway 65 south of Branson if the improvement of Highway 65 to the Arkansas state line had been given the priority over the Highroad? What would that have done for the economic development of Hollister and the immediate area south of Branson? What alternative routes could have been developed, not only within Branson but outside of Branson, to make travel safer and more convenient for those who work, live, and visit the Branson area?

Obviously, no one will ever know. One thing is very clear however, the Highroad has done about as much to solve Branson’s traffic congestion problems as the publicity received from the American Highway Users Alliance/American Automobile Association’s report will do to eliminate the perception that Branson has a traffic congestion problem.

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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