By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Changes will be coming to I-229 and the double-decker bridge
in downtown St. Joseph, but what those changes might be have yet to be decided.

St. Joseph Mayor John Josendale says he wants some tweaks made
to the Missouri Department of Transportation’s plans for changes to I-229, but
that the city and MoDOT are close to agreement on its future.

Josendale says city officials discussed I-229 at length with
members of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission during their
visit to St. Joseph this week. Josendale says MoDOT has narrowed the choices
for the future of I-229 to four alternatives.

“Again, what people need to understand is that the four
options that are out there are a placement and it’s a work in progress,”
Josendale tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. “So, we’re trying to get
input from the stakeholders, from the people, as to what are the tweaks that
need to be made with it to where it would go best.”

It appears MoDOT is set on replacing the double-decker bridge.
None of the alternatives include it and MoDOT officials contend it is too
costly to maintain. Interstate 229 likely will lose its interstate designation
as well, transferring to a federal highway, such as U.S. 36.

Josendale says giving up the interstate designation could actually
greatly benefit St. Joseph, especially in creating access to downtown St.
Joseph.

“There’ll be a new interchange at the north end at St. Joseph Avenue
that would give it access both to the north and the south,” according to
Josendale. “How that actually interacts is one of the things that we’re talking
about.”

Josendale says the city officials don’t see a real downside to
dropping the interstate designation.

“It depends on if you’re worried about what the badge is,” Josendale
says. “If you remember the highway that goes up to Maryville is (U.S.) 71 and
this could be a continuation of 71. It doesn’t necessarily change, but it wouldn’t
have a blue banner on it. It might have a white banner on it.”

Josendale says the drop of the interstate designation gives
MoDOT more leeway to provide access to downtown St. Joseph. It also could help
spur development north of St. Joseph. The mayor says the city wants to make
sure farmers retain a good highway system to south St. Joseph.

Josendale encourages residents to make their feelings known
either through the special I-229 website or in upcoming public hearings.

Click HERE to go to MoDOT’s I-229 webpage.