Special allocation approved to help fund replacement of Buck O’Neil (Broadway) Bridge

At the October Total Transportation Policy Committee (TTPC) meeting, the city of Kansas City, Missouri, requested a special allocation of $40 million in Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds to help pay for a new bridge to replace the existing John J. “Buck” O’Neil (Broadway) Crossing of US-169 over the Missouri River between Clay and Jackson counties in Missouri.

TTPC convened a special joint meeting with the Missouri STP Priorities Committee on Nov. 13, 2017, to discuss the request. The group considered three alternatives:

  • Allocate all available FFY 2021-2022 STP funds, estimated at $35 million, to the project.
  • Allocate $40 million to the project over four years (FFY 2021 to 2024).
  • Consider the request with all other applications in the upcoming call for projects.

A majority of members present supported allocating $40 million for the project over the next two programming cycles, provided that the city of Kansas City, Missouri, does not apply for other STP funds during this period. Both TTPC and the MARC Board of Directors both reviewed and unanimously approved this recommendation at their November meetings.

The allocation of $20 million to the new bridge in 2018 will leave approximately $15 million for other projects during that round of funding (FFY 2021-2022). MARC staff will review the project in 2019 to ensure reasonable progress has been made in securing remaining funding and completing key project development activities prior to the 2020 call for projects (FFY 2023-2024).

Earlier this year, the Missouri Department of Transportation determined that major repairs are needed in the near term to address serious issues with the condition of the bridge structure. MoDOT initially proposed a $50+ million project to make these repairs, which would require complete closure of the bridge for up to two years and serve only to restore the bridge, with no upgrades to meet changing community needs.

Over the past year, MARC’s Beyond the Loop study of the bridge and its surroundings has revealed strong community support for replacing the bridge with a new structure that would strengthen connections to downtown and nearby communities. The study estimates a new bridge would cost approximately $200 million. MoDOT committed to pay half of the cost of a replacement bridge ($100 million) if the city of Kansas City could provide the other half. The $40 million STP allocation leaves a $60 million gap for the city to fund.

The city of Kansas City, Missouri, has submitted — and MoDOT has conditionally approved — a cost-share project to make immediate short-term repairs of the existing bridge and initiate environmental studies for a replacement. These repairs may require short-term full or partial closures of the bridge.

STP funds are suballocated to MARC, the region’s metropolitan planning organization (MPO), by the Federal Highway Administration in order to fund a variety of multimodal and roadway projects on federal highways. The Kansas STP Priorities and Missouri STP Priorities committees make recommendations to allocate these funds, with TTPC and MARC Board approval, through a programming process that occurs every two years.

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