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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Supporters want to close the old Buck O’Neil bridge and turn it into a park and pedestrian bridge over the Missouri River.

Now, $300,000 will be spent on a study to see if the idea is feasible.

State Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, said he secured the funding as part of Missouri’s 2022 budget. The Army Corps of Engineers will be in charge of the study to determine whether or not to move forward with the project.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Kansas City,” Razer said. “As we move forward with constructing a new Buck O’Neil bridge, it’s important we decide what to do with the old one. Rather than simply tear it down, we have the potential to breathe new life into this iconic and historic structure, to the benefit and enjoyment of the Kansas City community. 

Massman-Clarkson of Kansas City was hired to design and build the new bridge that carries U.S. 169 over the Missouri River. The project is expected to cost $220 million.

Construction of the new bridge is anticipated to begin in the fall and be completed by late fall of 2024.

Massman-Clarkson released renderings of the bridge’s design in February. The company also released a virtual tour.

Some people didn’t want to get rid of the current bridge and came up with the idea to turn it into a park. The Missouri Department of Transportation plans to schedule public input meetings in the coming months to discuss the new bridge, and the impact will have to the area.

The Buck O’Neal bridge is more than 60 years old and used by nearly 50,000 drivers daily.