Part of US 412 now 'Gov. John M. Dalton Memorial Highway'

Wednesday, June 29, 2005
A section of U.S. 412 between Kennett and Hayti was designated the Gov. John M. Dalton Highway under a bill signed into law Tuesday by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Present for the signing are Governor Dalton's son, John Hall Dalton, Kennett, center, grandsons David, far left, and John Dalton, and Carl Williams with Lt. Governor Kinder, far right.

It's official. A section of U.S. 412 in Dunklin and Pemiscot counties has been designated the John M. Dalton Memorial Highway.

The designation was authorized in a bill signed into law Tuesday by Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. The new law names various highways and bridges in the state after prominent Missourians.

"It is always a special moment to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of Missourians with the designation of a stretch of highway or a bridge," said Kinder. "I am pleased to sign this legislation into law and honor their contributions to Missouri."

The bill designated "the portion of U.S. 412 in Dunklin County from the eastern city limits of Kennett, Missouri, to the western city limits of Hayti, Missouri, within Pemiscot County shall be designated the "Governor John M. Dalton Memorial Highway."

Some Bootheel lawmakers felt it was a fitting, and long overdue honor to name the highway after Dalton.

During Gov. Dalton's term he signed into law legislation that required cars to have seat belts, established the point system for driving violations and provided money to build a new Missouri State Highway Patrol headquarters.

The designation of U.S. 412 between Kennett and Hayti as the Gov. John M. Dalton Memorial Highway stemmed from a bill filed by Reps. Terry Swinger, D-Caruthersville and Otto Bean Jr., R-Holcomb.

John Hall Dalton, a Kennett attorney and son of the late governor, said it was appropriate U.S. 412 be named for his father as he was also instrumental in winning funding for the Mississippi River bridge between Caruthersville and Dyersburg, Tenn., which significantly boosted traffic on the highway.

Dalton was governor from 1961 to 1965 and was the first Southeast Missourian to hold the office.

He also served two terms as attorney general from 1953 to 1961. He died at the age of 71 in 1972.

As attorney general, Dalton stood with Bean and his wife when they were married in 1960.

Their families went back many years, said Bean. "He was one of my favorites."

Swinger met Dalton twice while visiting the state Capitol as a teenager and said a permanent tribute to Dalton's memory was long overdue.

"He was really popular in the area," he said.

Senate Bill 233 also establishes a non-legislative process by which organizations can petition the Department of Transportation to designate a highway or bridge.

The new procedure allows organizations and individuals to petition the Department of Transportation for a bridge or highway designation.

One member of the General Assembly must sponsor the petition, and the application is to be accompanied by a list of 100 signatures of persons who support the proposed designation. This procedure also requires that all signage and upkeep be paid for by the petitioning organization, with funds beind deposited in the Department of Transportation Bridge and Highway Sign Fund created by this legislation. The documents fees are to be submitted to the Department of Transportation before final approval or denial by the House and Senate committees on transportation.

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