Billy Street’s family has lived at County Road 180 and Apple Road for more than 45 years.
“My house is next to my parents’ house. I grew up there,” Street said. “Our whole lives have been built right there. That could all be going away.”
The Streets and about 10 other families live where County Road 180 comes to a dead end at Interstate 44. The planned construction of an $85 million pet food plant in the nearby Crossroads Center Business and Distribution Park could transform that dead end into a busy interchange on the interstate.
“They won’t officially say it yet, but they want to put a road right through my living room,” Street said.
Street and others believe County Road 190, also known as Prigmore Avenue, would be a better location for the interchange. For some time, residents of that area, and even city officials in Duenweg, have presumed that County Road 190, which is one mile farther west, was the preferred choice for an interchange since it goes through the industrial park.
“Far fewer homes would be affected on 190, and it’s more of a direct link to the interstate from the industrial park,” Street said. “There’s already a bridge over the interstate there. There is no bridge at 180.
“Because of the houses that will have to be relocated, I think it will be more costly to do 180 than 190.”
During a recent meeting attended by 70 to 80 people, officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation said both county roads have been identified as a possible site for the interchange and that no decision has been made about the preferred choice.
Dan Salisbury, assistant district engineer with MoDOT, said: “We are in the earliest stages of this. We have reached out to engage the public to get the maximum input about how that project takes shape.
“All we have done is engage them and ask them for their input. We know there is a lot of concern, and we know that they think we have already made up our minds. We have not. We need a lot more information.”
Those attending the meeting were told that County Road 180 was included because County Road 190 might be too close to the Highway 249 interchange to receive approval from the Federal Highway Administration.
“Its proximity to Route 249 is a big factor,” Salisbury said. “The Federal Highway Administration will have to approve this. Even if we choose it, it will still be a factor until they approve it.”
Justin Forest, who lives on County Road 180 between Apple Road and East 32nd Street, also known as Route FF, said he worries about property values, as well as truck traffic and the possibility that County Road 180 will become a three-lane road from East 32nd Street to the interstate.
“We are worried about MoDOT acquiring our houses through eminent domain and relocating us,” he said. “I don’t feel it is fair. There’s nobody in support of this that I’m aware of.”
Forest said those attending the meeting were told that no decision has been made about which road would be favored for the interchange.
“They said, ‘We haven’t made a decision,’ that they still had to do a bridge analysis and a cost analysis,” he said. “I think the people who attended that meeting got the sense that they wanted to build an overpass on 180 and that they were hiding behind this cost analysis. They’re not interested in County Road 190.
“I’m upset because they committed our land to get this deal — to get this pet food plant.”