Funding issues lead to potential closures of two major bridges for construction at the same time

Posted: 4:17 PM, Jul 28, 2017
Updated: 2017-07-28 19:23:33-04

A five-year construction delay due to funding issues for a Lewis & Clark Viaduct revamp means it could be closed at the same time as the Buck O'Neil Bridge.

The Mid-America Regional Council is working with both KDOT and MODOT to avoid the scenario, but current schedules indicate the bridges would have an entire year of overlap in closing.

Lewis & Clark, which carries the westbound lanes of I-70 over the river, will be under construction for two years beginning next spring.

"I think what we're seeing right now is the impact of the funding situations in both Kansas and Missouri," MARC Director of Transportation Ron Achelpohl said.

Work on Lewis & Clark was supposed to start in the fall of 2012, but budget problems halted the project.

Budget problems are also impacting infrastructure in Missouri.

"The state of Missouri right now has 3500 structurally deficient bridges all of which need to be addressed," Governor Eric Greitens said.

Instead of repairing the Buck O'Neil, MARC is advocating for a new bridge to be built parallel to it. Such a construction would allow the original bridge to remain open while the Lewis & Clark Viaduct is closed. The agency is conducting a study called "Beyond the Loop" to study that option and other traffic issues downtown.

We reached out to KDOT, but have not yet heard back.