JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation announced today that the environmental and location study for U.S. Route 63 in Osage, Maries, and Phelps Counties has been completed. The Federal Highway Administration approved and signed a Record of Decision on February 12, 2010.The U.S. Route 63 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) began in November 2006 to evaluate transportation needs along the 47-mile stretch of U.S. Route 63, from a half mile south of the U.S. Route 50/63 junction in Osage County to just north of Rolla."This has been a three year process to document the details about what improvements are needed to correct roadway deficiencies, reduce congestion, improve safety and provide continuity along the Route 63 corridor," said Nicole Hood, MoDOT Transportation Project Manager. "The completion of the study means that we are prepared to move forward and make needed improvements to Route 63 as funding becomes available."Although MoDOT is moving forward with mapping and aerial photography needed in preparation for detailed highway design, no timeline has been announced for the highway design work to take place for most of the corridor. Currently, design funding has only been identified for the Phelps County portion of the study area. No funding for any construction work is available."When funding is secured and design does move forward, MoDOT will hold another round of public meetings to gather input about the highway design details," said Hood. "At that time, property owners will see corridor alignments and be able to comment on the layout of the new highway."MoDOT has also worked with the Meramec Regional Planning Commission to prioritize segments of the Route 63 corridor for future construction consideration should funding become available. "The environmental study is a detailed process and we are very pleased with the amount of input we received from the community," said Hood. "We would like to thank the community for their cooperation. We continue to encourage people to contact us with their questions."To view a copy of the approved study document, log onto www.modot.org/central. For more information about this topic or other transportation-related matters, please call 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636) or log onto www.modot.org/central.