KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After the brutal cold spell in Kansas City over the last week, many are looking forward to warmer times, including the group constructing the Rock Island Bridge.
The steel railroad bridge is slated to open this summer after it has been under construction for a couple of years now.
It is being turned into an entertainment district that will feature a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, live music and a rental venue. Located near the West Bottoms going across the Kansas River, the former railroad bridge connects Missouri and Kansas.
“This is the first of its kind in the world," said Mike Laddin, vice president and CFO of Flying Truss. "No one has ever done this with a railroad bridge before. We're bringing full-on utilities. We'll have restrooms, drinking fountains, bars, restaurants. It's exciting to be available to be a part of this."
The area by the Hy-Vee Arena and former stockyards is currently under development with new apartment complexes being added to the landscape. On the other side of the river is an industrial park. Laddin said both sides are excited for the connector.
"It's bringing this area alive," Laddin said. "This is truly the heart of the metropolitan area and really the last area to see any change or development. So we expect a proverbial hive of activity down here and the bridge has got to be the star of development up and down the Kansas River."
Laddin said with the bridge redevelopment being the first of its kind, he hopes their innovation extends to other cities and gives the idea of repurposing infrastructure.
The Rock Island Bridge will be multilevel and open most of the year. You can stay up-to-date with the construction progress on the project's website.