Big Highway Improvement for Clay County: Welcome Opening of O’Neil Bridge
The Buck O'Neil Bridge has re-opened for travelers both north and south following a rehabilitation project. The work will allow continued use of the bridge while a new span is designed.
Formerly the Broadway Bridge, the strategic crossing of the Missouri River connects Clay County and the Northland with Downtown Kansas City. The bridge had been closed to southbound traffic while crews rehabilitated the aging, deteriorating structure.
Conducted by the Missouri Department of Transportation, the $7-million repair began last spring with workers repairing cables, railings, medians and expansion joints. Northbound traffic continued during the work and drivers had access to the adjacent Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport throughout the project.
The 62-year-old bridge carries approximately 40,000 vehicles a day but was in poor condition. MoDOT officials believed the bridge needed to be either extensively repaired or replaced.
The rehabilitation project avoided a two-year closure of the bridge under an alternative plan for rebuilding the structure. Kansas City officials projected major traffic problems with such a complete closure. Instead, they pushed for the rehab and a later construction of a new bridge alongside the current structure while the O’Neil Bridge remains open.