Hole in I-35 causes major backups in KCMO

Posted at 11:36 AM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-02 12:36:44-04

A hole found in the northbound lanes of I-35, north of the downtown loop over the weekend has caused some major backups.

"Last Friday afternoon the box culvert failed maybe due to all the rains, maybe due to decades of pounding from the semis, but this thing broke and we had a big hole on I-29/I-35 just north of the downtown loop," Brian Kidwell, Assistant District Engineer with MODOT. "About 15 feet down below the surface of the interstate out there there are two 36 inch sewer lines  that run into the concrete box and they run out of a 48 inch sewer line. That box then rises 15 feet all the way to the surface of the interstate where the manhole is and that top assembly broke. So we had a 15 feet deep hole out on the interstate." 

The asphalt around a manhole, or box culvert, leading to the sewerline shifted causing the lid to shift, according to KC Water. "The manhole itself wasn't damaged, only the area around it. We made the necessary repairs to prevent any bigger problems," said a spokesperson.

MoDOT said the hole was located between the two right lanes. They didn't get any reports of any damage done to cars driving through the area.

"This is an old system," said Kidwell. "It use to be 6th Street Trafficway back in the day. In the 50's it was converted into an interstate. When it was a city street you had city sewers and manholes and it kind of made sense. We don't have these sewers and manholes out in the middle of an interstate."

"This one is fixed forever, but there are several more out there and we'll be talking to KCMO about what we need to do to try and stay out of the way of these emergency type situations," said Kidwell.

A temporary fix was put over the hole over the weekend, but a more permanent fix started Monday and through Tuesday morning.

"KCMO had a steal plate over it, but they just don't last through the speeds, the plates always move," said Kidwell. "We didn't want to runt he risk of having a 15 foot hole out there if the plate moved so we took the option of tearing the top off, pouring concrete and coming back to make sure we have a good fix that wasn't going to require further maintenance."

Crews are scheduled to put asphalt over the concrete at 1 pm Tuesday afternoon with hopes the road will be drivable by the evening rush hour.

"It was a real inconvenience to the public this morning and hopefully we'll have this thing fixed and it won't happen again and this will just be a bad memory," said Kidwell.

While there will no longer be a manhole in this location, MoDOT said there are others out there on interstates.

"We'll be talking to KCMO about what we need to do to try and stay out of the way of these emergency type situations," said Kidwell.