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MoDOT plans closings around Buck O’Neil Bridge as crews ready for blast of north arch

In World
February 14, 2024

Drivers headed across the Missouri River on Wednesday should plan for delays as crews prepare for the blast planned for Thursday to bring down the north arch of the Buck O’Neil Bridge in the northwest corner of downtown Kansas City.

Crews plan intermittent closures on northbound U.S. 169 from Fifth Street to Richards Road between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, Brooke Rohlfing, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Kansas City District said in a news release.

MoDOT staff along with other workers are preparing for the blast of the north arch of the bridge on Thursday. This will be the first of three blasts to take down the entire bridge, MoDOT said in a separate media advisory.

For safety purposes, the blast is closed to the public but can be viewed live on MoDOT Kansas City’s Facebook page.

Late last month, MoDOT closed the Buck O’Neil Bridge and shifted northbound traffic to one of the newly built river bridges, bringing an end to an era in Kansas City. For the time being, the new southbound bridge will be used to carry northbound traffic over the river.

Southbound U.S. 169 drivers continue to be detoured via Interstate 29/35 over the Bond Bridge on the northeast corner of downtown. For the past year, southbound U.S. 169 has been closed at the Wheeler Downtown Airport.

Demolition on the old bridge began days later. The work is being done in several phases.

On Thursday, there will be other closings:

  • Northbound U.S. 169 from 5th Street to Richards Road, intermittent closures from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

  • Woodsweather Road at Fourth Street, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.

  • Ramp from Fifth Street to southbound Interstate 35, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.

  • Ramp from westbound Interstate 70 to southbound I-35, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

  • Left lane of eastbound I-70 from Beardsley Road to Broadway, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

  • Ramp from eastbound I-70 to Sixth Street, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

  • Ramp from northbound I-35 to eastbound I-70, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The ramps from Beardsley Road to Fifth Street and westbound I-70 will have intermittent closures until March.

Drivers who normally use those routes are advised to plan ahead, leave early or find alternate routes if possible.

The iconic triple-arch, steel-truss bridge opened in 1956 as a toll bridge run by Kansas City. Tolls were ended in 1991 and the city transferred ownership of the bridge to MoDOT in 1992.

The bridge, which was formerly known as the Broadway Bridge, was renamed to honor Kansas City sports legend Buck O’Neil in 2016.

The bridge, which had neared the end of its projected life span, served as a key regional connection between downtown Kansas City and the Northland. Nearly 50,000 vehicles a day used the bridge.

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