Kansas City, Mo. – Work is about to begin retrofitting the Heart of America Bridge for bicyclists and walkers. The $3.4 million job is scheduled to be completed by the fall. For the first time in at least a hundred years, Kansas City will have a bridge usable for non motorized traffic.
Planners picked the bridge over others based on safety, lowest environmental impact and cost. A concrete barrier will separate bikes and pedestrians from traffic.
Amid noisy traffic at foot of the bridge, Missouri Highway and Transportation Commissioner Stephen Miller was talking about concerns for availability of future projects' money-- "Our transportation continues to be underfunded. We shouldn't be misled by these stimulus dollars. We've almost used those up."
Federal highway stimulus money once amounted to one and a half billion dollars. Miller knows it will dwindle to $500 million. But the bike bridge job is funded, for the only bicycle friendly crossing of the Missouri River in the metro region.