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Friday, July 25, 2014

Welcome centers open

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Photo)
John Hart looks over one of several earthquake displays located inside the new Welcome Center located on southbound Interstate 55 at mile marker 52.4 near Marston. A ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday celebrated the completion of the center which features New Madrid earthquake and Mississippian culture themes. Leonna Heuring, Staff
MARSTON -- Motorists traveling southbound on Interstate 55 near Marston will now have a chance to stretch their legs and learn a few facts about the region in the process.

A ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday celebrated the completion of the Marston Welcome Center located on southbound Interstate 55 at mile marker 42.4. A second ceremony Tuesday afternoon celebrated the Hayti Welcome Center located on northbound Interstate 55 at mile marker 20.2.

Cheryl Ball, Missouri Department of Transportation assistant to the district engineer, said each year 19 million people visit Missouri's welcome centers.

"One of our goals in creating this building was to make it much more beneficial to travelers so they can stretch their legs and learn about the region, but we also want to make their travel safer so they're not too tired when driving," Ball said.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded an $11,629,285 contract in July 2009 to R.L. Persons Construction Inc. Both projects included construction of the Welcome Centers, grading, paving, drainage work, lighting, landscaping and signing.

Former Missouri Highways and Transportation Commissioner Duane Michie said it's important to remember the federal funds used to construct the centers at Marston and Hayti were restricted.

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