Kirksville 63 Bypass affects business

The Highway 63 Bypass has now been in Kirksville for three years, but the question is, what impacts has it had on the city?

The alternate route around Kirksville opened in October 2011. The new Route 63 has helped to significantly decrease traffic on Baltimore Street, especially trucks.

"Some of our local companies especially located in the Industrial Park, they love that the alternate route has allowed trucks to miss the traffic along Baltimore," said Carolyn Chrisman, Director of Economic Development for Kirksville Regional Economic Development Incorporated.

Site selectors working with Kirksville Regional Economic Development Incorporated recently visited the city and praised the bypass. They said that having a route with minimal traffic and a higher speed limit would be attractive to businesses and corporations looking to build.

"Within the past few years, the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council put a commercial overlay over the alternate route, saying that it would be a good location for businesses to locate to," added Chrisman.

The alternate route has decreased the amount of traffic on Baltimore Street, but has it also decreased the number of potential customers spending money in local businesses?

Business owners do say that they have seen a decrease in customers over the past three years, especially travelers who previously passed through town.

"We get a lot of travelers, and that is what has kept us in business. Word of mouth. And the bypass has hurt us, but the main ones we get now are ones from the reputation," said Anita Armstrong, Owner of Rosie's Northtown Cafe located on North Baltimore.

However, signage improvements along the bypass are in the works. This way, travelers will be aware of what all Kirksville has to offer. Members of the community are excited to see how the alternate route will continue to improve over the coming years.

"I think you know in the next five years, it'll be interesting to see how things progress. I think that we will be thankful for the alternate route once we are able to get Highway 63 four lanes to the Iowa line. I think we will really see that as a benefit to us," said Chrisman.

Since the opening of the bypass, accidents on Baltimore Street have seen a decrease.