bridges

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.