US Department of Transportation

FHWA PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects

Project Name: Branson Bypass (Ozark Mt. Highroad)
C03 Project ID: 49
Project type: Connector
State: MO
Topic Supports: Long Range Planning Application

The Ozark Mountain Highroad (SR 465) or Branson Bypass project was intended to divert traffic away from SR 76, the main street in Branson, and relieve congestion in response to growing tourism in the city. The bypass was on the list of projects to be funded by SCDOT but was not a priority.

Local officials and developers in the Branson area appealed to the Governor on the project's behalf, and in response, the Governor called for an expedited process for building the project. The Governor declared the high level of congestion an "economic emergency" in 1992. Construction began in the mid-1990's; however, only the northern portion of the bypass was completed. The southern portion was abandoned because the project has faced several controversies. The right-of-way costs were highly underestimated due to the difficult terrain. In addition, developers bought property before any planning was done, and the route was not designed to accommodate or facilitate significant development immediately adjacent to the highway. The project has not relieved congestion on SR 76 and has not stimulated any new development. The lack of organized partnerships and a proper planning process has greatly impacted the success of this project.