This study has concluded. The final document, as it was submitted to the Federal Highway Administration, can be found below. If you are looking for information on the ongoing environmental study of the Buck O’Neil Bridge, please visit:
The formal public comment period has now closed. However, if you would like to contribute a thought, comment, or suggestion about the project, please feel free to send it our way. Thousands of regional residents took part in shaping this study. Your comments and thoughts mattered and helped a great deal. Thank you for taking the time to add your voice.
The Broadway Bridge, recently renamed the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Memorial Bridge, is a triple arch bridge over the Missouri River on U.S. Highway 169 that provides a key north/south regional connection. It directly interacts with the North Loop, the portion of Interstate 70 between the Paseo and the Kaw River on the north side of Kansas City’s downtown, a key east/west connection.
The bridge is located near the junction of U.S. Highway 169 and the north loop of I-70. While still in safe condition, the bridge is nearing the end of its projected lifespan and will require significant investments to continue to serve the traveling public in the future. Opened in 1956, the bridge recently celebrated its 60th year of operation. Over the years, the neighborhoods and communities on both sides of the bridge have changed significantly.
The North Loop is an older divided six-lane highway covering 32 acres along what was 6th Street through downtown. The highway separates the Central Business District from the River Market and Columbus Park neighborhoods. Since its construction, the surrounding area has changed in population, use and purpose. The North Loop presents some operational, development and safety challenges with its current design.
Before making any decisions about the bridge and North Loop, we will consider how our communities want to grow and develop over the next 50 years – and then think about how new infrastructure investments might support that vision.
This project will begin by asking stakeholders to envision the future of the bridge and North Loop of Kansas City.
Tens of thousands of people drive across the Buck O’Neil Memorial Bridge each day and even more vehicles pass through the North Loop. They are primary regional arteries. Many others also walk and bike in the study area, though there are few safe or accessible facilities to accommodate them. The study will examine ways to improve safety and connectivity.
With more than a dozen on and off ramps woven tightly together along the North Loop, it’s common for traffic to backup during morning and evening rush hours. Because of the confined nature of the highway, emergency vehicles often encounter difficulties as they seek to provide aid. And residents have expressed concerns about pedestrian safety crossing between the downtown Central Business District and the River Market.
The population continues to grow north of the Missouri River, and residential units in the areas surrounding River Market and downtown are at full occupancy with more apartments under construction. The bridge and supporting highways now run through thriving and growing neighborhoods. This study will ask how we can improve the relationship between our transportation infrastructure and the communities it serves.
The study area also includes significant aviation, railroad, transit and waterway facilities that may impact or be impacted by changes to the roadway network.
The study will assess ideas suggested by the community and identify several feasible options for the future of the bridge and corridor. It will stop short of identifying a single preferred solution.
While the study’s primary purpose is to identify long-term options, it will also recommend some short- and medium-term opportunities for improvements. For example, it will examine ways to better connect the street grid between River Market and downtown Kansas City for future development.