The Missouri Department of Transportation wants to hear from the public about some major upcoming road projects.
They want their approval because improvements can't get done without raising taxes.
MoDOT wants to demolish and replace the Broadway Bridge if voters approve a ¾-cent sales tax to pay for it and dozens of projects this August. More than 50,000 drivers use the bridge every day to get to work or to make it home.
MoDOT says in all it has nearly $900 million in projects in the Kansas City area that it will tackle if voters approve the tax. The biggest project for the entire state is to make Interstate 70 three lanes in both directions from Kansas City to St Louis, MO.
"Based on our current future funding projections in 2017, we're going to fall below the level of funding just to take care of our current system. So if we don't invest in our transportation infrastructure, we're not going to be able to keep up with demands, and ultimately, were not going to be able to keep up with the conditions of those systems," district engineer Dan Niec said.
Some businesses owners in the Northland weren't thrilled at the proposed bridge plan and are worried about what it would do to traffic and business flow. Drivers' opinions varied on the idea of a new bridge. Some say it needs to happen for the safety of not only drivers, but also pedestrians who do not currently have sidewalks.
Brian Strohm drives to work near the downtown airport every day. He does not like MoDOT's preliminary plan to demolish and completely replace the 58-year-old bridge connecting downtown to the Northland.
"Where's it going to go? There's going to be huge bottlenecks in Kansas City. I'm not confident the planning will be appropriate or, you know, planned out so people can actually get to and from the Northland, downtown, across the river or wherever you need to go," Strohm said. "It's going to create nightmares not only in Missouri, but also in Kansas because people are going to be rerouting. I'm not confident it's going to go well, at all."
Some people are so attached to the Broadway Bridge that a Facebook page called "Save the Broadway Bridge" was created. The creator says neighbors are concerned about the loss of an iconic KC skyline, property values around the area and neighborhood connectivity.
People have until July 13 to give MoDOT their input on the bridge and hundreds of other road projects in the state.
The vote on whether to approve a tax increase that would provide improvements to Missouri roads is Aug. 3.
The bridge opened in 1956 and cost $12 million. One estimate says to replace the bridge and do the necessary road work could cost $200 million.
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