KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Repair or replace? Missouri Department of Transportation officials say something has to happen with the Broadway Bridge.
The most likely decision means it could close for about a year in 2019, making more than 40,000 drivers who use it on average every day to change their commute.
MoDOT Assistant District Engineer Brian Kidwell says the least expensive option of repairing the bridge is the most likely. It will cost between $10 and $20 million. That’s the plan Kidwell said will be proposed to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission in July.
Kidwell showed us the rust and damage showing on the bridge. While he said the bridge is now deemed safe, “Our concern is a little more rust and deterioration could generate a closure for emergency repairs.”
Instead, Kidwell said MoDOT would prefer to be able to plan the closure and detours for the Broadway Bridge.
There are three options, according to Kidwell:
Repairing the bridge for between $10 and $20 million would close it for approximately one year. This is the most likely option.
Replacing the bridge exactly would cost about $100 million and would close it for about two years. This is the least likely option.
Realigning the bridge to join I-35 would cost more than $200 million. No closure would be needed because the current bridge could be used until the new bridge was completed.
“It is a little odd that you take a major highway and come south over the river and just ends up at a stop light,” Kidwell said of the way the Broadway Bridge ends in the downtown and River Market area. Realigning the bridge would also help alleviate congestion there. But at more than $200 million, Kidwell said the money just isn’t there.
“We’re trying to tread water, trying to stay even,” he said.
Kidwell added that repairing the bridge is the only option MoDOT is able to fund. A study by the Mid-America Regional Council and MoDOT is examining other options including a realigned bridge and closing down the North loop downtown. Read more on that study here.
Martin Rivarola from the Mid-America Regional Council said the bridge sees average daily traffic of 42,326.
Kidwell said the Broadway Bridge was last inspected in July 2015 and is scheduled to be inspected next in July 2017.