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Shafer Road returns to State maintenance

Photo by Shari Harris
This photo of Shafer Road as it passes through George O. White State Forest Nursery was taken in March, before patching was done by Sherrill Township. The fate of this road is in MoDOT’s hands now, and area residents and Shafer Road drivers eagerly await news of what that fate will be.

Shari Harris, Publisher

Sherrill Township sent a letter to Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) in September, notifying them that the Township would no longer be providing maintenance services for Shafer Road, in north central Texas County.

Shafer Road travels from Highway 63 at the north city limits of Licking, past George O. White State Forest Nursery and the community of Sherrill and north to the county line, where it becomes Phelps County Road 6330. In the spring of 2023, Friends of Old 63/Shafer Road joined together to start a petition drive asking for improvements to the road, with their main objective being “real road improvements to the pavement and sides of the pavement on approximately a 6.9 mile stretch of road called Shafer Road.”

The road was originally asphalted in 1932 as U.S. Highway 63. After construction of the current stretch of Highway 63, the State Highway Commission of Missouri turned over maintenance of Shafer Road to Texas County on July 21, 1962, citing that they no longer considered it “economically feasible to maintain.” Sherrill Township has maintained the road for over six decades, but, as the petition pointed out, the road was “deteriorating to the point that the patching of the road is not enough.”

After three months of the Township not maintaining Shafer Road, the responsibility for it reverted to the State of Missouri during the second week of December.

MoDOT has not indicated to the Township their plans for the road. All are hopeful the interest shown through the petition drive will bolster their case to have the road improved, rather than changed to gravel. With at least six gravel roads and State Route CC intersecting it, and with R&S Track, George O. White State Forest Nursery, the community of Sherrill and numerous houses and farms located along its length, numerous drivers have a stake in its fate.

Updates from MoDOT regarding their plans for the road have been requested and are anticipated. These will be shared with readers as they become available.

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