County: Clay & Jackson Counties
Road: US Route 169
Feature Crossed: Missouri River
Other Location Information: Bridge crosses from Kansas City, Missouri to North Kansas City, Missouri near the Airport Plaza Arena.
Structure Number or County Bridge Number: Bridge No. A4649
Type: Steel Tied Through Arch
Length: 2,764’ (main spans are 451’, 453’ and 540’)
Width: 47' 10"curb-to-curb
Year Built: 1955-56
Builder: American Bridge Company, New York
History of Modifications, Rehabilitations, etc.: capital improvements in 1988, 1990 and 2007-2008, shoulder improvements and repainting in 1992
Other Comments: Commonly called Broadway Bridge
For further information, interested parties may contact
Name: Karen Daniels, Sr. Historic Preservation Specialist
Organization: Missouri Department of Transportation
Address: MoDOT Design Division, Historic Preservation Section, P.O. Box 270, Jefferson City, MO 65101
Bridge A4649 was built in 1955 with three steel tied through arch main spans and is an early example of superhighway design with riveted construction. The bridge was commissioned by the City of Kansas City, Missouri. They hired the engineering firm of Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff to design the bridge. The bridge operated as a toll bridge until 1991 when the Missouri Department of Transportation took over the bridge.
The bridge has sixteen spans with a total length of 2,764’. The span types and lengths from north to south are: three continuous plate girders (67’, 66’ and 66’), three tied arch spans (451’, 453’ and 540’), nine continuous plate girders (103’, 121’, 90’, 118’, 125’, 118’, 108’, 99’ and 107’), and one through girder (113’). The structure is flared with a 5 degree skew. The bridge is 47’ 10” wide from curb to curb and the vertical clearance over the deck is 14’ 5”. Bridge A4649 has four traffic lanes carrying two-way traffic.
Bridge A4649 was commonly known as the Broadway Bridge. The Broadway Bridge was officially renamed the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neill Memorial Bridge on June 24, 2016 for the former first baseman and manager of the Kansas City Monarchs. O’Neil was the first African American Coach in Major League Baseball. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after his death in 2006. The Buck O’Neil Bridge is an iconic structure and landmark for the Kansas City area, images of the bridge are often shown in movies and television shows set in the Kansas City area.
The bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under criterion C for significance in engineering and criterion A for transportation significance. The Buck O’Neil Bridge is a superhighway design. The superhighway design started to become popular in the mid-twentieth century and became common in the 1970s. The Buck O’Neil Bridge includes a super elevation for curves, grades to adjust for vertical elevation, curved designs for ramps, support systems for elevated ramps and a complex substructure that had to be custom designed to fit around existing roads and railway that are all common elements in superhighway designs.
MoDOT’s Historic Preservation Section is now accepting proposals for the relocation and reuse of the bridge or its components until December 31, 2019. A proposal checklist is available MoDOT’s Free Bridges website (http://www.modot.org/freebridges/). Preservation covenants may accompany the bridge.