Jefferson City, Mo. – Whether you’re getting your kicks on Route 66 or exploring “The Way of American Genius,” the Missouri Division of Tourism encourages you to drive safely, especially in highway work zones.
Each year, the spring and summer months bring more travelers to Missouri’s roadways. These months also mark a prime time for road-improvement projects around the state.
That’s why the Missouri Division of Tourism and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) are working together to promote Operation Orange, a work-zone safety effort held April 23-27 in conjunction with National Work Zone Safety Week.
The goal of Operation Orange is to highlight safe-driving practices in all construction areas, whether workers are present or not. As you drive around Missouri, notice all MoDOT work zones are well marked with orange cones and signage for the safety of workers and drivers.
To emphasize this orange theme, and remind travelers of its importance, MoDOT created Operation Orange, during which buildings and landmarks throughout the state are decorated in bright orange to highlight the need to drive safely in work zones.
April is a significant month for travel in the Show-Me State, with the Missouri Division of Tourism’s Official Missouri Welcome Centers offering maps and travel information, plus a break from driving, to about 45,000 travelers annually during the month.
These same Welcome Centers, located at key entry points on major highways in Missouri, get into the spirit of the Operation Orange initiative: all seven centers are decorated orange, have special orange displays, and hand out orange-colored treats to travelers.
Missouri is known as a great driving destination, thanks to attractions such as aforementioned Route 66. “The Mother Road,” as it is known, is a popular avenue by which to see America. From St. Louis to Joplin, some 300 miles of the famous route parallel and crisscross I-44 in Missouri. Route 66 in Missouri is loaded with places to experience Missouri hospitality, many of which are listed on the Route 66 page of the Missouri Division of Tourism’s website, VisitMO.com.
Although the highway’s “official” designation may not always be “Route 66,” Missouri has more miles of the old highway still under state management than any other state. Along the route you encounter some of Missouri’s most iconic attractions, such as Route 66 State Park, with exhibits chronicling the history of the legendary highway; Meramec Caverns, once used as a hideout by Jesse James; St. James Winery, Missouri’s largest wine producer; and one of the state’s most-visited attractions, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, in Springfield.
Another fun highway to explore in Missouri is Highway 36, which runs from St. Joseph in Northwest Missouri to Hannibal in Northeast Missouri. Known as “The Way of American Genius,” this stretch of highway offers a detailed look at some of the people who have had significant meaning to our state – in some cases, the country and the world – by highlighting birth places, childhood homes, and the sites of famous business ventures.
St. Joseph, for example, is home to both the Pony Express National Museum and the Jesse James Home (where the famous outlaw was killed). Heading east from St. Joseph, you find Hamilton, former home of retailer J.C. Penney whose life is commemorated at the J.C. Penney Museum; Chillicothe, site of a collection of murals, including one honoring the city as the Home of Sliced Bread; the Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site in Laclede; Marceline, where former resident Walt Disney is remembered at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum; and Hannibal, where the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum honors the city’s most famous resident.
Whether you’re traveling Route 66 or Highway 36, or any other highway in Missouri, the Missouri Division of Tourism encourages you be alert and be safe, especially in work zones. The ideal Missouri getaway means reconnecting with family and friends and unplugging from the stresses of work life. Let your passengers worry about navigating VisitMO.com’s mobile website (m.VisitMO.com) while you drive; don’t be a distracted driver, especially in work zones.
The Missouri Division of Tourism and MoDOT want your Missouri vacation to be memorable for all the right reasons. So please, drive safe to help ensure you and your fellow motorists have safe and enjoyable travels through the Show-Me State.
To find the location of all active highway work zones, go to MoDOT’s Work Zone Interactive Map. For the location of bridges under construction, see the Better Bridges Map. If you would like to take part and “go orange,” information is available on MoDOT’s Operation Orange website.
About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) is the official tourism office for the state of Missouri, dedicated to marketing Missouri as a prime travel destination. Established in 1967, the Missouri Division of Tourism has worked hard to develop the tourism industry in Missouri into what it is today, an $11.2 billion industry supporting more than 279,000 jobs and generating $627 million in state taxes in Fiscal Year 2011. For every dollar spent on marketing Missouri as a travel destination in FY11, $57.76 was returned in visitor expenditures. For more information on Missouri tourism, go to www.VisitMO.com.
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Links to sites referenced:
Route 66 State Park
St. James Winery
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
Work Zone Interactive Map
Better Bridges Map
Jesse James Home
J.C. Penney Museum
Pershing Boyhood Home