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Communities along I-29 feeling effects of prolonged closure

Businesses in Mound City continue to feel the effects of the closure of Interstate 29.

Posted: Apr 11, 2019 9:49 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2019 1:16 PM

(MOUND CITY, Mo.) Only local traffic has access to the stretch of Interstate 29 from mile marker 57 just north of St. Joseph up to the Iowa border, and that’s starting to have an effect on small communities in the area.

In Mound City, business owners said the absence of thru-traffic on the interstate means the absence of revenue. 

"We all have to work together," Susan Meadows, a small business owner said. "We support each other and it's concerning that this will possibly slow down the growth of all of the towns around."

Businesses in the small communities along the interstate depend on revenue from travelers, with the highway now closed concern is growing over the local economy.

The closure of I-29 also has other effects on the small town, large freight trucks are now having to drive through the downtown area taking a toll on local traffic and roads.

"The rock trucks just keep coming 24/7," Meadows said. "We have concerns about the roads."

Commuters in the region are also affected, the closure is forcing them to take long detours. At Hiawatha Implement, a John Deere dealer, staff said some of their co-workers who live in Nebraska have seen their commute time to and from work quadruple. 

"[They] used to have a 30-minute drive to work and now they’re having to drive two hours to work." Chad Gormley, staff Hiawatha Implement said. "A lot of them are starting to stay with other employees which keeps them from their families all week."

It's unclear how long the interstate could be closed, but those who work in the area said the longer it remains closed to traffic the bigger the strain for those that have to make due.

"As a business, we're concerned for some of the local businesses that don't depend strictly on the local community," Gormley said. "[We're] just hoping they're able to survive through it for as long as they're saying it's gonna be closed."

Smaller highways that run through smaller towns in the area are also seeing higher traffic volume due to the closure of the interstate.

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Rain chances continued on Tuesday afternoon for northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Shower chances continue throughout the day Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. Wednesday we will see cooler temperatures across the area with highs only in the lower 40's. Temperatures will be on the mild side in the 40s and 50s into the later half of the week.
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