Platte County’s many commuters who cross the Missouri River for jobs or entertainment have been challenged in recent years by bridge and highway projects. Life is stressful enough for grownups — then throw in stop-and-go traffic and long waits for lines of cars to move due to construction — tensions ratchet upward. More is on the way. So is more growth, according to planners charting the future of the metro area. So changes are coming even if you don’t drive to work on the other side of the River. Leaders in Kansas City want Missouri highway officials to rebuild the Broadway Bridge and also redo the traffic configuration of Interstate 70 and streets on the south side of the Bridge. The Bridge that opened in the 1950s is showing some wear, tear and weathering on the support structure, according to a story recent in The Kansas City Star. If it’s going to be rebuilt, City officials want more than a new bridge, they want new traffic configurations. The intersections just south of the Bridge are a bit tricky. Traffic backs up there during rush hour. Many roads loop into that area, so engineers will have their work cut out for them. There’s a historic town of Kansas site and the River Market area nearby. Old city streets from the 1800s circle into highway designs of post World War II. Some of us can remember when the old toll booths on the Broadway Bridge slowed things. How nice it was simply to roll across the Bridge without the toll booths. Then recently the Broadway Extension underwent repairs and sections were closed for a time. That’s the roadway that passes Wheeler Downtown Airport and connects to Northland highways. Traffic moved elsewhere and that made for slower going on the other bridges due to congestion. Slowdowns are the pattern in recent years. Completion of the Bond Bridge carrying Interstate 29 and Interstate 35 north-south across the River made for long, slow, creeping lines of traffic. That finally ended a few years back. But then this past summer, major repairs on several highway loops and connections in Downtown Kansas City crunched traffic flow again. The hardest part of the work day for many people was getting to work and home again. Now comes more construction news. Missouri and Kansas officials in January plan to begin seeking a builder to replace the two bridges connecting Platte County at Riverside with the Fairfax Industrial District of Kansas City, Kan. The builder will help decide whether to build one or two bridges as a replacement, a location, and whether traffic will keep flowing into Riverside there or be routed to other bridges such as Interstate 635. Riverside City officials want a plan that keeps that route into the City open during construction. Those bridges serve people driving from Kansas to the Argosy Riverside Casino, which pays significant revenue to City coffers. For Platte County commuters, cutting through the Fairfax District has been the sort-of-secret passage to various parts of Kansas City when construction slows traffic on other routes. While a Broadway Bridge project remains uncertain regarding if or when, the Fairfax Bridge replacement is a go and funded in the next few years. Commuters who have to get to work tomorrow dread highway construction announcements, though growth makes such projects inevitable. We’ve grown so much in Platte County in the past few decades and many residents and businesses have ties to the south. Meanwhile, business growth north brings more commuters from south of the River into the County during the day. The Star story carries startling numbers. Topping the list is that Platte County population is projected to jump by 76-percent by 2040. In neighboring Clay County, which shares the bridges, the population could grow by 70-percent. Much of that growth is due to sewer and water services moving north into former farm country decades after annexation. Basically, when our children and grandchildren hit middle age, they will be driving in a County that’s almost twice as crowded as now. But they’ll still be dependent on the bridges being built now. The green space they have for parks, too, will need to be preserved now. The infrastructure planners are right to build now what is needed for the long-term future. But we surely pay for construction with our patience as well as tax dollars. And afterward, we still have to figure out how to implement mass transit systems that are convenient and affordable enough to make tomorrow’s commuters leave their cars at home.