(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Joseph residents attending MoDOT's Thursday night meeting discussing the future of Interstate 229.
Many downtown business owners filled the room, mulling over how the upcoming changes were going to affect them.
“I feel like it’s a very important part of our downtown revitalization to decide how we proceed along with the highway,”said Sara Markt, a St. Joseph downtown business owner.
MoDOT went over their four interstate alternatives.
All of the options discussed involved building a new roadway and tearing down the double decker bridge.
Residents were seen taking notes and asking many questions on the possible I-229 alternatives.
“There’s a lot of questions about traffic, a lot of questions about the alternates, why we’re doing this, interstate designation, funding because a lot of people don’t know,”said Shannon Kusilek, MoDOT's District planning Manager.
MoDOT officials say the I-229 revamp is looking to be a five to seven year project.
If the bridge begins to deteriorate, MoDOT says they will try to speed up the process.
However, officials say it's all a matter of funding.
“But they are all within that $40-50 million range that we are targeting for the rehab so that's why the question comes up is this the best use of taxpayers dollars to rehabilitate the bridge and maybe there’s something we can do,”said Kusilek.
Many residents sided with MoDOT by favoring an alternative option that focuses on revitalizing the downtown area.
“My favorite would be number 2. I like of course how it takes down the double decker bridge, it allows for the better connection to the river, it just gives us more room to be able to bring more revitalization into the area and it also keeps it away from the river so we can really work on that river development,”said Markt.
MoDOT officials are having ongoing discussions of two alternative options that do not call for building a new roadway.
The options instead leave the double decker bridge as it is or there's the option to continually repair the I-229 bridge.
MoDOT officials say they discuss the final alternative sometime within the summer or fall months.