KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Council members discussed how to improve the Buck O'Neill Bridge on Thursday. Council members are looking at a resolution that gives the city manager 60 days to work with regional partners.
They would put together a plan to help the state pay and perhaps funnel federal funding for the construction of a new bridge. It's estimated that a new bridge would cost at least $150 million. They also discussed a rumor that recently-passed city bonds totaling $110 million would be used for the bridge, which Mayor Sly James squelched.
"I don’t know where that number came from, but let me just say it as bluntly as I can, it’s total nonsense. There is no funding mechanism in place for the Broadway, or Buck O’Neil Bridge. If there is one, it will be a collaboration of state money, some money from us, and hopefully federal money, none of that has been decided," he said.
But it's clear to city leaders that something must be done regarding the bridge, which needs crucial repairs that would force it to close if they rehabilitate it.
"Turning a blind eye is disastrous for this entire city," Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner said.
MoDOT is planning to spend $50 million to repair the existing bridge in the next few years, that would mean it would close for about two years. The closure would be slated for 2019, and extend the bridge's life 35 years.
No final decision has been made by the council, but click here to see the resolution presented on Thursday.