Why are we replacing the current Buck Bridge?
The John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Memorial Bridge (formerly the Broadway Bridge), is a 64-year old triple arch bridge carrying U.S. Highway 169 over the Missouri River and serving as a key regional connection between downtown Kansas City and communities north of the river. While safe, the bridge, which opened in 1956, is nearing the end of its projected lifespan. Since its opening, the neighborhoods and communities on both sides of the bridge have changed significantly and now nearly 50,000 vehicles use the bridge daily.
How will building the new bridge affect traffic?
NB US 169 will remain open throughout entire project. However, SB US 169 will be closed beginning sometime in 2023 for approx. 616 days to accommodate construction on the north side of the river
How will this new bridge be any better than the current bridge?
The new bridge is anticipated to last for a 100 years or more and will require much less costly maintenance. Besides that, it will provide direct connections from Interstate 35 to US 169, a new bike/pedestrian lane, access improvements at the downtown airport, changing LED lights following along the trail, a scenic overlook with benches and murals featuring KC icons.
Why didn’t we come up with a design more similar to the KC Icon Bridge?
The current Buck O’Neil Bridge is a triple-arch design, which we don’t construct any longer. The design for the new bridge, called a plate girder, will require much less maintenance than the former bridge and was the most cost-effective option. A design like the KC Icon Bridge wasn’t an option at this downtown location due to restrictions on rail, waterways, wildlife and with the downtown airport in such close proximity.
Did we tear down historical buildings to build the new bridge?
There are no historically eligible buildings that will be impacted with the project
What is going to happen to the current Buck O’Neil Bridge after the new one is built?
Permitting with environmental agencies, the Coast Guard, Corps of Engineers and Union Pacific Railroad would be necessary to retain the existing bridge if the City of Kansas City desires to retain the bridge. However, the design-build contract includes the removal of the existing bridge. The City of Kansas City has expressed keeping the Buck O’Neil Bridge but will be at a cost of $50 million, with proper approvals. KCMO has not indicated their position.
Did we involve the public in this process?
MoDOT actually began the process of planning for a new bridge back in 2018. Since then, the department conduced an Environmental Study (one in-person public meeting, one online meeting, one in-person public hearing), a Pell Study (three public meetings) and another online survey. We also currently have a group of citizens involved in helping make decisions on the aesthetics being planned for the new bridge.
When was the current bridge last repaired?
Rehabilitation work on the Buck O'Neil Bridge began May 19, 2018. The southbound lanes of Route 169 across the Buck O’Neil/Broadway Bridge were CLOSED to all traffic. The short-term repair project included immediate repairs to the expansion joints, cable keep replacements and partial scour remediation. The cost of repairs was approximately $7 million. The project was a cost-sharing agreement (50:50 split) with the City of Kansas City, MO. This short-term project will keep the bridge in use until a longer-term solution can be found. The project was completed just in time for the extended 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.
Who is paying for this project and how much does it cost?
The overall budget for this project is $257,879,900 with the Design-Build contract amount $219,353,00, $122,950,000 million is from the City of Kansas City (includes federal funds), $134,929,000 million MoDOT (includes federal funds) and $25 million BUILD federal grant.
What is the timeline for the new bridge?
Construction began in July 2021 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.