Rand McNally will soon put another pretty blue line on its Missouri road maps, as Kansas City adds one more interstate to the network of connections that already make the region a transportation hub.
The 180-mile stretch of U.S. 71 from south Kansas City to Joplin and beyond will become Interstate 49 once the last few finishing touches are completed by early November. The official designation is scheduled for noon on Dec. 12, as in 12-12-12-12.
It will be a major milestone toward the long-sought goal of a direct interstate connection all the way to New Orleans. For points south of Kansas City, it will mean an interstate connection, via I-29, all the way to Manitoba.