JOPLIN, MO.--- Steve Hagensicker owns 40 acres north of a proposed I-44, I-49 interchange at Prigmor Road. He says he's excited for what the project could mean for the future of the area near the Crossroads Industrial Park.
"The way I look at it, the park keeps growing and there's a lot of people out there now. They're going to want to bring in a McDonald's and places like that, will want to move out there to feed them. So, it's going to make things start growing," said Steve Hangensicker, Surrounding Property Owner.
MODOT officials agree providing an easier access to the park will help the economy boom.
"It was one of the key decisions in bringing the Blue Buffalo Pet Food Company to the Joplin area, and it brought at a minimum 129 jobs to the area. So we thought that was a good reason to be supportive," said Dan Salisbury, MODOT Assistant District Engineer.
The proposed plan involves two roundabouts located north and south of the interstate, resurfacing the intersection at 7th and Prigmor to account for an increase in traffic volume, and building the new bridge in a slightly different location so traffic can still flow smoothly during construction.
"The bridge is slightly east of the existing bridge and that addresses a concern so that some of the people in the area could drive through there in the summer," said Salisbury.
All of this is good news for drivers and the economy, but it has some living in the area concerned MODOT will have to purchase some of their land to make the project possible. While those residents declined to go on camera, they did express their concerns to MODOT officials about how some buildings will have to be knocked down to make room for the exit. Other neighbors, like Hagensicker, said they are looking forward the proposed interchange.
"You've got to expect that if you're going to have growth in Joplin. You're going to have that. You've got to put up with a little bad to have the good," said Hangensicker.
MODOT officials will begin buying land and finding a construction company to carry out the project in early 2014. Construction is set to begin in summer of next year, with a completion date of December 2014.
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