bridges

The Missouri Department of Transport (MoDOT)

Kansas City’s newest bridge officially opens Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The U.S. 69 Missouri River Bridge connects Platte and Wyandotte Counties. The crossing opened to traffic in December but the finishing touches to a ramp and a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists were just completed.

Missouri is busy upgrading or replacing historic bridges build from the 1930s to the 1950s. A new bridge was recently finished upstream in Atchison and engineers are currently looking at downtown’s 60-year-old Buck O’Neil Bridge.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

When Mayor Sly James and his staff first proposed an $800 million general obligation bond to address the city's basic infrastructure needs, he acknowledged it would be a tough sell.

At a town hall meeting in Kansas City's Waldo neighborhood Monday, James had a chance to make his case. 

About 100 area residents showed up to ask the mayor just how the city plans to spend the money and how it will affect their own pocketbooks. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The City Council is considering an $800 million bond that may improve Kansas City, Missouri, infrastructure. Today, Mayor Sly James discusses that proposal, and the city's increasing murder rate. Then, we speak with Todd Graves, Governor-elect Eric Greitens' pick to lead Missouri's Republican Party.

A look at how bridges made Kansas City, from the Hannibal Bridge (the first one in town, built in 1869), to the most recent one that just opened on Grand Boulevard.

Plus: America was once home to some of the most diverse collection of edible plants. Today, that diversity is a fraction of what it was. The story of a woman who is on a mission to change this.

Guests:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Keeping roads and bridges maintained in a city as big as Kansas City can be never-ending — and expensive.

That's the reason Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte came before a joint committee meeting of the City Council on Wednesday to advocate for an $800 million bond proposal to address the city's infrastructure needs for the next 20 years. 

The plan, which will likely come before voters on April 4, 2017, includes a property tax increase  over 20 years for the purpose of repairing, rebuilding and maintaining the city's existing infrastructure. 

Missouri Department of Transportation

The aging Grand Avenue bridge over Interstate 670 will have to be replaced, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced Friday.

The bridge has been closed since May 6, when small pieces of concrete started falling off of it, District Engineer Dan Niec says.

It cannot be repaired.

“The current design of that bridge was modern for that time, for that era, when it was built back in the ’60s,” Niec says. “Those types of bridges are no longer built.”

https://chicagology.com

You've probably never heard of him, but if it weren’t for the work of Octave Chanute, those shiny streetcars might be climbing the hills of Saint Joseph, Missouri, not Kansas City. Instead of celebrating the Royals’ World Series win, we could be cheering on the Leavenworth Lions.

But in a single master stroke, Chanute’s Hannibal Bridge, completed in 1869, allowed cattle, and all sorts of other freight, to cross back and forth from Clay and Jackson counties in record time.

You may not have heard of Octave Chanute before but, if you live in or around Kansas City, chances are you're affected by his work. Local historian Bill Nicks explains Chanute's lasting importance to aviation, and where you can still find evidence of his legacy in the metro.

Tim Kiser / Wikimedia Commons--CC

The Kansas Department of Transportation wants to know what drivers would be willing to pay for a new bridge over the Missouri River near Fort Leavenworth – if it saved them time.

The 60-year-old Route 92 Centennial Bridge is “functionally obsolete,” industry parlance for an old bridge that doesn’t really work for today’s traffic.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

It's a big week for the Broadway Bridge – expect lane closures and delays as inspectors check the safety of the 60-year-old structure.

“The paint looks OK on Broadway, but when you really get in your bucket truck and you hang over the edge and start looking underneath, there is a lot of deterioration, a lot of areas — they call it section loss,” says Brian Kidwell, assistant Kansas City district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Two years ago, inspectors found problems — big ones — that necessitated closing the bridge for repairs.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

It doesn’t take long to drive a car across the Missouri River.

Depending on traffic, the roughly half-mile trek can take just one minute. But if you don’t have a car, the Missouri River can seem like a much larger obstacle.

According to the U.S. Census, about 84 percent of the Kansas City metro population drives alone to work. That leaves the other 16 percent commuting by other means, like carpooling, public transit, walking, biking or just working from home.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

As KCUR begins an exploration of how the Missouri River unites and divides the Kansas City metro, we must first consider our unique congregation of bridges. There are 10 of them, if you include the highways. Thirteen if you count the rail tracks that go over the river. And each one — though probably many people can't identify them by name — offers a unique perspective and connection for travelers.

As part of the Beyond Our Borders project, we'll soon take a look at the current state of the bridges and how we use them. But for now, we offer a little bit of history.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Brian Kidwell walks along the old Manchester Bridge as Interstate 70 traffic whizzes past on the newly opened span.

He points to a six-inch hole in the concrete. There’s nothing but sky beneath the pothole.

“It’s like playing Whack-A-Mole,” says Kidwell, the Missouri Department of Transportation’s assistant district engineer for Kansas City. “You go out, you fix a patch, you get off of it. Next week, there’s another area, another area.”

Cody Newill / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon stopped by the recently closed Missouri River bridge on Highway 291 in Sugar Creek, Missouri Thursday to call on state lawmakers to pass a fuel tax hike for transportation funding.

The northbound bridge was closed Wedensday when a Missouri Department of Transportation inspection found a rusted hole through a support strut. 

Nixon said the bridge is indicative of a larger problem with state transportation funding.

Theresa L Wysocki / Creative Commons

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers grades the country and each state on the condition of its infrastructure. The picture coming from last year’s report isn’t pretty.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we look at the grades Kansas and Missouri earned. We also examine the future of infrastructure in our region and how projects that need to be done will be funded.

Guests:

GoogleEarth

Drivers navigating the heavily commuted interchange of Highways 350 and I-470 Monday morning will find a different landscape than they encountered  just before the weekend. 

Heavy concrete chippers spent the last two-and-a-half days taking down bridge decks.

Economic Toll Taken On Missouri Bridges, Highways

Jul 1, 2010

Jefferson City, MO – You won't see nearly as many bulldozers and paving trucks working to fix and expand Missouri highways. The upcoming five-year construction program approved today cuts away two thirds of what was spent last year.

What was approved by Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission barely has funds to take care of what's here now.