An updated version of the Missouri Official Highway Map is now available to anyone who wants one. The Missouri Department of Transportation updates the maps every other year.
Machelle Watkins, transportation planning director for MODOT, said there are some new features on the 2019-2020 map, which features all 33,838 miles of state-maintained routes, public-use airports, hospitals, colleges and universities, national forests, state parks and conservation areas.
Route 66 is now designated on the Missouri maps as part of the U.S. National Bicycle Tour System, she said.
Other changes include larger fonts and better color contrasts for users who are visually impaired.
Two towns were added to the new map: Charmwood in Franklin County and Middlebrook in Iron County.
A more detailed view of surrounding states is also included in the 2019-2020 map. River locations and labeled counties with boundaries are now displayed on the eight states adjoining Missouri.
In a time when many people use their smartphones to navigate, Watkins said the Missouri Official Highway Maps remain popular. More than a million people picked up or requested a printed copy in the last two years.
“Many people like to keep a paper copy of the map for larger purposes in terms of planning a trip somewhere like a vacation where you want to explore several stops along the way,” said Watkins.
And if a person is traveling and loses cell phone service, a paper map will keep them from getting lost.
The maps also help to promote the state as a destination. Tourism requests are ones they see the most, according to Watkins.
"People who are interested in visiting Missouri often request a map to help plan out their visits," she said, "and I think a paper map helps orient one to a site they might be interested in and what other kind of opportunities to visit and explore might exist around where they're looking."
Approximately 1.5 million maps will be printed over the next two years, which is a five percent decrease from the previous printing.
You can get a free copy of the map at your local MODOT district office. They’re also available at MODOT’s building at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia through April 18. You can also request a copy online.