West Highway 76 Redesign Focuses on Attracting Visitors, Supporting Business and Encouraging New Investment along West Highway 76
One of the most iconic vacation destinations in the country since the 1960’s, Branson, Missouri, now attracts more than seven million visitors annually. In recent years, the City of Branson placed a priority on enhancing the community’s central corridor, the heart of the area’s identity and economic vitality. This five mile stretch of state highway is the focal point of tourism attractions, entertainment venues and hospitality services for the region. The transformation of West Highway 76 now underway will create a fun, memorable and unique sense of place that greatly enhances the visitor experience while enriching opportunities for new and existing businesses in the area.
The vision for the “complete street” plan is to enable safe, attractive and comfortable access for all pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transport users of all ages and ability. The goals of the project are:
This ambitious, complete street project is one of the largest and most diversified public/private collaboration efforts in the nation. The Master Plan was inspired by citizen input, led by the City of Branson and developed by an engineering, design and architectural team coordinated by Cook, Flat and Strobel Engineers. More than 200 private property owners along the corridor are involved, with many providing voluntary joint-use-easements to accommodate the physical space required for design enhancements.
A stakeholders’ petition to the City formed the 76 Entertainment Community Improvement District (CID) which will fund the project with a 1% sales tax collected within the revitalization zone. Additional City of Branson resources are earmarked to support the project and fund ongoing maintenance and operations of the entertainment district infrastructure. Construction for the first phase begins soon on a 6/10th mile stretch that includes the Gretna Road intersection to Rosalee Street. The entire project will be implemented in small, manageable sections to minimize disruption to visitors and business operations during construction. Completion of the full five-mile renovation is estimated by 2024.
Although a master plan is in place, the opportunities for flexibility, innovation and creativity are ongoing. This grand vision for Branson is a bold and courageous revitalization that integrates the latest technology with the unique character of a vacation destination founded on hospitality, wholesome fun and family entertainment in a naturally beautiful setting. Ultimately the community’s spirit of collaboration, inherent ingenuity, and genuine desire to attract and satisfy visitors will move Branson forward. Continued growth and change, while embracing both the area’s roots and new and exciting guest experiences, will assure Branson remains a popular and prospering destination for generations to come.