Why is MoDOT doing this project?
A $13.6 million contract was awarded in May 2012 to Pyramid Construction Co. to replace deteriorated sections of a wall that supports Route 169's northbound lanes; fix bridges that support the southbound lanes; repair guard rail and barrier; and replace drainage between the northbound and southbound lanes, which will resolve the highway’s problems for the long term.
Nearly 60 years ago, northbound Route 169 along the east bank of the Missouri River was a city road to the Downtown Airport. However, a solid road built on a levee made of dirt and sand presented challenges. The loose material must be kept in place so that the pavement remains solid and does not break apart.
A “bin wall” 12 feet high in some places was built to keep the underlying base in place and support the road. The bin wall is made up of corrugated steel panels. MoDOT took over this road in 1994, and in the last decade, those steel panels have rusted out enough that replacement is now necessary.
Why must Route 169 be closed?
The highway must be closed for this work because there is not room to do the repairs without a total shutdown. Route 169 along the Missouri River is different than most highways. It lies only a few hundred feet from one of the great rivers of North America. A levee keeps the river from flooding the nearby lowlands, including the Wheeler Downtown Airport, the railroad yards to the east, and the highway, which is built upon the levee.
MoDOT and HDR, its engineering consultants, considered several solutions. The Broadway Extension carries 35,000 vehicles per day between the Northland and Downtown Kansas City. Any long-term solution will require extensive construction. Since an active railroad yard is only a few feet away, there is no room off MoDOT’s right of way to stage construction equipment. Highway closure is the only feasible method of making repairs, and the closure will be disruptive for months.
In late summer 2011, MoDOT tested a method to repair the 4,000+ feet of bin walls. Subsequent review by MoDOT and HDR engineers determined that building concrete walls would best correct the problems.
Can I still get to Wheeler Downtown Airport?
Yes. Motorists will continue to have access to Wheeler Downtown Airport from Downtown via the Broadway Bridge (Route 169 north), and from Harlem Road to the east.
Detours to the Heart of America (Route 9) and Christopher S. Bond (I-29/35/US 71) bridges are the closest alternate routes.
How can I get to KCI?
Motorists accustomed to using the Broadway Bridge and Route 169 to commute KCI Airport must use other routes/bridges, such as the Heart of America (Route 9) and Bond (I-35, I-29, Route 71), I-435 on both sides of the state line, or I-635.
What is the project time line?
Route 169 was closed July 14 and will remain closed for approximately five months. Expect the highway to re-open by mid-December.
How do I learn more?
For more information, review the project map and handout listed in the left column. You can also submit a comment, send an e-mail or give us a call. Lend your voice to the transportation process!