September 5, 2012
The good news is, US Highway 71, more commonly known as the “BRW” (Bruce R. Watkins) Expressway is slated to become an interstate highway later this year.
The official designation is expected to take place at high noon on Dec. 12. Do the math, 12/12//12/12. But the new interstate designation doesn’t include the part of the highway that runs north of I-435 in South Kansas City. The reason, three at-grade intersections currently exist that would require extensive modifications before the interstate designation is made to the portion of the BRW between downtown and the Grandview Triangle.
The late Skip Sleyster railed against local government on a weekly basis about the folly of putting stoplights on a freeway. Now, thanks to those stoplights at 55th, 59th and Gregory Boulevard, the urban core portion of US 71 won’t see interstate highway designation any time soon.
This Newshound sure didn’t agree with ol’ Skip on much, but even this old dog sees the idiocy of stoplights on a freeway. Here’s hoping the powers that be at the local, state and federal level already have blueprints in hand for the necessary modifications to the affected intersections, hence paving the way for I-49 to extend all the way to the downtown loop instead of starting the designation halfway between here and Joplin.