LIBERTY, Mo. -- A major headache for thousands of drivers on Interstate 35 is coming to an end.
Northlanders are celebrating Wednesday's opening of a new dual bridge on Highway 152, linking Liberty to Kansas City. The expanded crossing will handle the surge of families moving into the area.
The bridge over I-35 has been shut down since May, snarling traffic and sending drivers on some lengthy detours.
Two new companion bridges are replacing the old crossing. Part of the bridge includes a new diverging diamond configuration. With eight lanes on one bridge and three more on the other, the 11 total lanes of traffic show you just how much growth has been happening.
This is a $30 million project paid jointly by the Missouri Department of Transportation, Kansas City and the city of Liberty.
"It's strange because I remember when this was like a two-lane road," said Andrea King, MoDOT's lead construction inspector. "Highway 152 did not even exist. A lot of companies have seen a major impact to their business, but overall the city of Liberty and its residents will see huge growth after this as well."
But just because the bridges are now opening doesn't mean the traffic headaches are over. There's still work to be done that will disrupt drivers until the project is completed a year from now.
The new bridges include sidewalks and multiple use pathways for cyclists, which the old bridge didn't have. And the driving lanes will be wider with added turn lanes.
The interstate has been a divider in the Northland with few crossings to handle the increased number of vehicles.
This project should make it safer for larger numbers of people to move freely between Kansas City and Liberty.