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Kansas City man wants MoDOT to clean up hillside near Southwest Traffic Way, I-35

Posted at 4:43 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 17:43:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You may not be able to see the home of people who live off of Southwest Traffic Way and Interstate-35.

But at least one neighbor is claiming that’s because of tall grass.

He’s citing fire danger concerns along with other safety hazards that he’s attempted to get the Missouri Department of Transportation to fix.

“I’ve been here my whole life, 32 years,” Lucas Orozco said.

On west 27th Street and Madison Avenue, old family pictures show Orozco’s slice of serenity — his home.

While family pictures show growing kids, one thing remains in the picture, the hillside behind them.

That hillside is Interstate-35.

Orozco can see the traffic from his front porch, he says it doesn’t bother him because he’s used to it.

But the tall grass is something he said he's not so used to.

“I have not seen this highway grass ever get this bad," Orozco said.

Corn farmers use the adage "Knee-high by the Fourth of July," but Orozco says the weeds are taller than him.

“I mean, I’m 5-foot-6, I’d imagine I’d get written up if my yard was like this,” he said.

Orozco says he’s called MODOT with other safety concerns

“We don’t have a top rail; you can just poke this fence and probably knock it down,” he said. “I’ve seen about in my life 10 cars come down this hill, we’ve asked about a guard rail.”

He said he hasn’t heard back from MoDOT.

A spokesperson from MoDOT said they are familiar with Orozco’s requests and have fixed a fence before and mowed.

“Well, they aren’t answering again, I’m going to go back again and try to get help from somebody,” he said.

Orozco said he’s also worried about what the grass and weeds are concealing.

“We’re getting a lot of little critters now, some snakes,” he said. “Raccoons, I can’t see if a possum is going to pop out at me.”

He says he wants attention to the maintenance so he can follow in his family’s footsteps.

“All the family functions were here,” he said. “I take pride in my neighborhood, I’ve recently been getting involved with the community now.”

A spokesperson for MODOT said they’re scheduled to mow the strip off of I-35 near Orozco’s home in the next few days.

They said they have had staffing issues and it’s caused delays in how quick they can get to requests.