JEFFERSON CITY - For those who have to reach for reading glasses to make out the fine print, the new Missouri highway map should take some strain off the eyes. The 2007-2008 map - released today - is 12 percent larger, so the type is bigger and easier to read.
Available free of charge, the map charts Missouri's 32,000-mile highway system, as well as major rivers, lakes, forests and state parks and historic sites. It also helps travelers find hospitals, airports and colleges and universities.
"This is arguably the state's most popular publication," said Pete Rahn, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, the agency responsible for publishing the map every two years. "It gets people where they want to go and may even mean the difference between a memorable trip and one that's spoiled by getting lost."
The map's cover sports a road's-eye view of a bright yellow car traveling down a newly resurfaced highway. Wide, white stripes mark the road's centerline.
"The cover design reflects what we've been busy doing, and that's providing Missourians with smoother, safer roads," said Rahn.
Some tried-and-true features remain, including easy-to-locate emergency telephone numbers and contact information for state travel resources. General details about Missouri's new work zone, booster seat and Move Over laws are also provided.
Universal Printing Company of St. Louis printed three million copies of the map at a cost of 19 cents per map - not much more than the 1924 price of 15 cents per map.
Maps are available at MoDOT offices, highway rest areas, visitor centers, the Missouri Division of Tourism and many other state offices. Copies can be requested by visiting MoDOT's Web site, http://www.modot.org/, or by calling toll-free 1-888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636).
State Map Historic Facts
- Early reports about printing the map date back to 1924, though records indicate the first map was printed in 1918. Here are some fun facts about the state map from a 1924 Missouri State Highway Commission report:
- According to the report, "the department was confronted with some difficult problems in preparing such a map, as nothing has been prepared of this character in the past."
- The report also said the maps were suitable for hanging on the wall, but a little large for the car, so there were plans to prepare a map in sections that could be placed in a folder for motorists to use.
- 25,000 copies were printed, and the supply was quickly used up.
- In 1924, the maps cost a little less than 15 cents to print - not that much less than today's prices.
- To cover printing costs, the department in those days sold the maps to any individual, firm or company at cost, then allowed them to resell the maps for 25 cents to "make a fair profit."
- While there was practically no objection to selling the map, the department thought a road map giving information to the traveling public should be furnished free and hoped the legislature would see fit to appropriate money for a state road map.