Repair or replace: Future of Buck O'Neil Bridge

Posted at 6:49 PM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 19:49:35-04

More than 50,000 people like Johnathon Hutchens drive across the Buck O’Neil Bridge every day.  

But at 60 years old, the bridge is in bad condition. 

“It’s always a little hectic driving near vehicles and obviously an older bridge. Like so many others, it needs repairs,” said Hutchens. 

Last October, 41 Action News joined the Missouri Department of Transportation for the bridge’s annual inspection and obtained a copy of the subsequent Concept Study and Rehabilitation Report. 

The 360-page report lists problems with the bridge, including gaps in its joints, erosion and rust on its underside. The study estimates it could take $150 million to construct a new bridge or less money to make repairs. 

MoDOT plans on spending $50 million to make necessary repairs but estimates the bridge could be closed for up to two years. 

"If they were to close it entirely, gosh that would change my entire day from start to finish. Yeah, I would have to reroute, as would how many thousands of other people,” said Hutchens. 

During Thursday’s City Council meeting, members agreed on a resolution to direct the city manager to work with state and federal agencies on a funding plan to keep the bridge open.