Proposed ‘Ozark Run’ Scenic Byway to stretch deep across the Ozarks if approved

The Scenic Missouri group has submitted a proposal to the Missouri Department of Transportation to create a state system of scenic byways crossing through 11 counties.

If approved, the new route would be called The Ozark Run Scenic Byway and would be used to preserve natural, rustic, archeological, historic, cultural and recreational roads for the public. 

The Ozark Run Scenic Byway would feature a continuous route of already-existing state and federal highways. The byway would start on Interstate 270 near St. Louis and head directly south to the St. Francois Mountain range. 

Tourists and other motorists would then cross the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on Route 106 through Eminence, only to head south on Route 21 to Ironton and Ellington before the run shifts west toward Bull Shoals Lake – eventually ending in Branson. 

The mainline carries south onto Route 19 into Alton and continues west along US 160, passing West Plains and Gainesville until its terminus at US 65, just north of Branson. The 375-mile trek would guide tourists through several small towns and wilderness areas, creating numerous recreational opportunities.

According to the Ozark Run website, two short spur routes would be added, beginning on Route 185 from Potosi to Sullivan, connecting to Interstate 44. Route 19 south of Alton will take the byway further south onto US 63 in Thayer, eventually connecting a byway into Arkansas.

The ultimate vision for the Ozark Run Scenic Byway is to give travelers a designated route across the entire Ozark and Ouachita region spanning Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. If approved, the entire route will cover 1,155 miles, creating one of the nation’s five longest National Scenic Byways – and perhaps fetching the route “All-American Road” status.

Government agencies located on the proposed byway have received a written notice of intent, requesting a public meeting to be held in the near future. Local cities and counties have the power to approve or disapprove the designation. The application requires 100 percent of government approval to move onto the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for final approval.

To find out more about “Sprint runs” from region to region, click here.

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