by Alan McArthur
A highly traveled bridge along Barry Road over Rush Creek was closed on Friday morning by the Kansas City Public Works Department and will remain closed for two years while the bridge is replaced.
According to Dennis Gagnon, public information officer for the public works department, the bridge was inspected in May and crews determined it was deteriorating faster than was expected. The deterioration was due in part to a large number of large vehicles using the bridge.
“It was restricted to one lane and motorists didn't observe the restrictions,” said Gagnon. “We had hoped to keep it open until work began.”
Gagnon said the bridge was originally constructed as Route T around 1930 and has outlived its useful life. According to Gagnon the average lifespan of a bridge is between 40 and 50 years.
While the bridge is closed, traffic is being detoured from Barry Road along Amity and Hampton Roads to Hwy. 152. According to Park Hill School District officials, the district had already planned for the closing and bus routes were planned to avoid the area.
The bridge, heavily used by Weatherby Lake residents, has long been cited as insufficient by area neighbors and has been the site of numerous traffic accidents, including some fatalities.
The project is expected to be sent out for bid this fall with construction beginning in the winter time. The bridge will remain closed until the roadway approaches are improved as well.
The new bridge will consist of two 12-foot lanes with a 4-foot bicycle lane on each side and sidewalks on both sides of the roadway, according to Sean Demory, communications specialist for capital improvements management. The new bridge has a budget of $200,000 for the project.
According to Demory, the city is hoping to move faster on the project and have the new roadway completed ahead of schedule. The bridge is now slated to remain closed until 2010.
The bridge project is part of a roadway widening project for Barry Road by Kansas City from I-29 to Potomac Street. The Platte County Public Works Department is widening Barry from Potomac to Childress Avenue.