The Missouri Department of Transportation plans to demolish and reconstruct the U.S. 24 bridge over Delaware Avenue in Independence beginning in the fall, and traffic will be routed along entrance and exit ramps until the new bridge is completed late in the spring of 2020.

Delaware Street will be closed at the bridge during the duration of the project, which coincides with the Truman Library's massive renovation, for which it’s to be closed for more than a year.

MoDOT recently awarded the construction contract and says the project will cost $2.7 million, including $464,300 from the city of Independence for bridge enhancements. That latter total is $114,300 higher than the city anticipated in March when revised cost estimates came in, but still far below the $1.3 million the city thought last year it might have to pay for the bridge enhancements.

Independence also made a callout to artists for artwork that would go on the bridge retaining walls. In its request for qualifications callout, the city says it envisions a Harry Truman theme for the west wall and a three trails/westward expansion theme for the east wall – six panels each – on a budget of $50,000 or less. The deadline for artists to submit qualifications is today, and the city plans to select the winning artist Aug. 2

The Truman panels will incorporate the famous photograph of Truman walking across the street in the Square and the following quote as the president returned home when he left office: “It's good to be back home, in what I call the center of the world – Independence, Missouri. I think it's the greatest town in the United States.”

Both walls will have a pedestrian walkway, and the city says it hopes the artwork will be “fun and lively,” enhance the experience of people entering or leaving the Library have “drive-by” and “selfie” appeal.

Joe's Crab Shack rezoned

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved rezoning for the former Joe's Crab Shack restaurant building on Jackson Drive. Kaster Architects, working with Des Moines businessman Tom Baldwin, plans to transform the building between Park University's branch campus and On the Border to Shotgun Betty's, a country bar with live music on some nights.

The applicants asked for the rezoning – from O-1 (office-residential), which allows for restaurants, to C-2 (general commercial) – because they didn't know if the business would have at least the 50 percent sales from food required for a restaurant zoning.

The building has been vacant and fallen into some disrepair since Joe's Crab Shack closed two years ago.