HOLT COUNTY, Mo. — People who live and work along Interstate 29 in northwest Missouri have seen "road closed" signs off and on since March, and it continues to take a toll on businesses that rely on highway traffic.
"It's like a ghost town," said Mendy Lewis, who manages the Garden Inn Truck Plaza just off the highway in Forest City.
Flooding shut down I-29 north of St. Joseph on Tuesday night. The next morning brought a false start.
"By 10 o'clock in the morning, they reopened it and, by 11 o'clock in the morning, they closed it again," Lewis said.
The Missouri Department of Transportation attributed the closure to flooding in Iowa.
"In 60 years, I haven't seen this much water," Mound City, Missouri, resident Donald Hall said.
It's not the first time this year parts of the interstate have been closed.
From late March to early May, segments of I-29 were shut down because of flooding and subsequent repairs.
"The highway being closed was awful, like 'close the doors' awful," Lewis said.
Hall, who often eats at the truck plaza restaurant, feels for the business.
"It would be difficult to run a truck stop without trucks, and that's what they're up against now," he said.
Lewis is waiting on the rain clouds to part so the closure signs can come down — permanently.
"Hopefully, it doesn't last that long," she said. "Hopefully, they can figure something out."
During the meantime, MoDOT provided this detour information:
- Kansas City area thru traffic should use I-35 to Iowa
- St. Joseph area thru traffic should use U.S. 71 north
- Local traffic can bypass I-29 by either going north on U.S. 71 and west on U.S. 59 or by taking northbound I-229 to northbound I-29