Group names north side of Kansas City’s downtown loop one of the worst highways in America

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A busy Kansas City highway made a national list, this time as one of the worst highways in the country.

An organization called “Freeways Without Futures,” based in Washington, D.C., works to make cities more walkable, resilient and help them thrive, something that the north side of the downtown loop prohibits.

The group’s report said instead of helping unite the community, the section of Interstate 35/70 downtown divides metro neighborhoods and cuts off the area from other sections of Kansas City.

The group’s report said highways on the list are often poorly maintained and many have become liabilities. It also suggests that as Congress debates how to invest money following the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to change that.

The report credits Kansas City’s Beyond the Loop for coming up with several plans to redesign the highway. Beyond the Loop is a collaboration between the Mid-America Regional Council, the City of Kansas City, and the Missouri Department of Transportation.

The plans include everything from keeping the area as-is to demolishing the highway. A big part of the plan also includes building a new Buck O’Neil Bridge. Construction of the new bridge is anticipated to begin in the fall and be completed by late fall of 2024.

Other highways on the list include Interstate 244 in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Interstate 345 in Dallas; and Interstate 35 in Austin, Texas.

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