MoDOT says Buck O'Neil Bridge among worst bridges in KC area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - If you drive along the Buck O’Neil Bridge in the next three weeks, you should expect some lane closures.

Crews are going inch by inch across the bridge to make sure it’s safe for your commute.

“It’s getting to the point now where it needs to be either rehabbed or replaced. That’s why we pay very close attention to it,” said Daniel Niec, a district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

In Missouri, more than 600 bridges are on MoDOT’s ‘critical condition’ list. According to Niec, the Buck O’Neil Bridge is near the top of that list for the Kansas City area.

The bridge carries around 50,000 people across it every single day.

"It is a critical link to downtown so we want to make sure we do not have an unplanned closure,” said Niec. "If any one component on this bridge fails, the entire structure has the potential to fail.”

And while most bridges are inspected every other year, the Buck O’Neil Bridge is inspected once a year. This year the state hired a special crew to conduct the inspections, which are expected to take three weeks and cost an estimated $200,000.

MoDOT officials will review the report and make recommendations— either replace the bridge or rehab it, which could cost an estimated $35 million. Rehabbing the bridge would extend the service-life by 20 years, said Niec.
 

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Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.

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