Missouri Department of Transportation invited KMBC 9 News to tour the Buck O'Neil Bridge construction site halfway through the project.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
For the last two years, drivers who have traveled on or near the existing Buck O'Neil Bridge have likely noticed the new flyovers being built over the Missouri River.
"There's a lot that's changing every day," MoDOT Project Director James Pflum remarked. "The big benefit that we're going to see from this project is the direct connection of 169 to I-35."
MODOT has been working hard trying to replace the decades-old Buck O'Neil Bridge with new bridges to connect I-35 with U.S. 169 and Broadway Blvd.
The project is still on track for completion by the end of 2024.
"It's a historic bridge," explained Pflum. "It's one of those things where you recognize just the years that people have driven on it. And then even just the name, you know, you think about Buck O'Neil and the contributions he made to the city and so on. You know, we want to make sure that the work we do right now honors those who have been there before, that honors Buck O'Neil."
Pflum also understands the traffic impact the project has had on the community. The next step of Buck O'Neil Bridge construction requires the closure of a lane in each direction of I-70 by Broadway Blvd. for 40 days.
"You look at a four-year project, and that's a long time," Pflum said. "It's the little milestones, the improvements that we see. Within three months, we've opened up roadways that have never existed before, and we've got Third Street open, which once again has never existed before. And so, for us, it is a long game."