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Kansas City receives $5 million in funding for improvements along U.S. 71

US 71 Highway Funding
Posted at 1:11 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 14:11:29-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City has received $5 million in Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant funding to support "critical" and "transformational" improvements along U.S. Highway 71, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas announced Monday.

The changes will be made from 85th Street north to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri.

The project, called U.S. 71 Reconnecting Neighborhoods, aims to "improve safety, mobility, and access to opportunities in an underserved area of Kansas City’s east side, which has been historically negatively impacted by the construction of U.S. Highway 71," according to a release from Lucas' office.

In March, KSHB 41 News found that three of Kansas City, Missouri's 10 high-crash locations are located along U.S. 71, at 55th Street and Bruce R. Watkins Drive, 75th Street and Bruce R. Watkins Drive and at Red Bridge Road and 71 Highway.

Mayor Lucas' office says that this stretch of highway has the highest number of fatal crashed for pedestrians and cyclists in the Kansas City area, with many pedestrians being forced to cross the highway from the east.

In addition to safety concerns, the highway also impacted nearby neighborhoods.

The construction of U.S. 71 cut through largely African American neighborhoods in eastern Kansas City, and displaced nearly 2,000 African American families when it was built in the 1990s and 2000s, the release says.

“This is one of those rare projects that I think is a win win win all the way around. We can help solve some of the toughest challenges this city’s facing,” Lucas said.

Lucas' office says the project will be completed over the next five years.