KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Beardsley Road, connecting the West Bottoms with downtown Kansas City, is a common thoroughfare for both cyclists and cars.
But the major connection has been closed from 12th to 17th streets since May 11, when a fire damaged three steel beams and part of a pier that support the bridge.
"We always err on the side of extreme caution and want to make sure we have a safe, sound bridge for people to ride along," Beth Breitenstein of KCMO Public Works explained.
Identifying and executing the needed repairs is a process that could take several months.
In the meantime, some people are not heeding the "road closed" signs that block off Beardsley. 41 Action News saw the problem firsthand on Monday afternoon, when a man pedaled past the barricades and over the bridge. Track marks in the dirt reveal others have done the same.
"For a lot of people, this is an example of that non-direct route that we've just really come to rely on," BikeWalkKC Policy Director Eric Bunch said of of Beardsley Road.
While he obviously doesn't condone ignoring road closures, Bunch said there's a lot to learn from the fact cyclists are still using Beardsley.
"It says a lot that people are willing to risk their safety by riding their bikes on a deficient structure versus riding in traffic," he said.
Beardsley Road is one leg of the Bike KC Downtown Loop, which connects Crossroads, River Market and the West Bottoms. The significance of the artery isn't lost on Breitenstein.
"We do realize it's a huge connector to a neighborhood that's just making a huge comeback, and there's so much going on there, so much development....we want to get it up and running as soon as we can," she said.
While Beardsley is closed, here are some of the other routes you can take to get to the West Bottoms:
- From the south: Take Avenida Cesar Chavez to American Royal Drive. The city says this route is ideal for cyclists because it's fairly flat
- From the north: Beardsley Road is still accessible north of 12th Street. You can follow it to Forrester Road.