(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Missouri Department of Transportation has narrowed its options regarding the future of the I-229 Double Decker Bridge.
After a year-long process of coming up with several plans ranging from a no-build option to a complete teardown, MoDOT has settled on two options that both include removing the bridge.
MoDOT officials said traffic studies they've conducted show that area drivers only use a small portion of the bridge, from St. Joseph Avenue to the 6th Street exit.
At a meeting at City Hall Thursday, MoDot officials met with members of the technical committee seeking support for the declassification of I-229 as an interstate. Members of the technical committee voiced concerns at the meeting.
Technical committee members said freight vehicles use the highway regularly as opposed to other roadways like the Stockyards Expressway. They said they worry about traffic congestion on other routes should the bridge be torn down.
MoDOT officials said traffic studies concluded that freight travel accounts for 15% of the vehicles using the bridge. They say a change in the road layout makes the most sense.
"Removing the structure and creating a facility that would facilitate local traffic which is what’s going on right now is the best approach moving forward." Shannon Kusilek, district planning manager, MoDOT said.
Meanwhile, members of the technical committee say they just want to be sure any potential change doesn’t have negative effects.
"We want to make sure that if we do declassify the 229 as an interstate that that is what’s best for our community and that’s what’s best for the surrounding areas." Abe Forney Technical committee member said.
In addition to freight traffic concerns, the technical committee also said removing the interstate classification could lead to higher maintenance costs.