KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Independence Avenue Bridge remains undefeated.
The well-known Kansas City bridge stands strong after yet another truck crashed into it Thursday afternoon. Unlike the usual box trucks, this time a trash truck ran into one of its columns.
When people saw the video footage of the truck hitting the bridge, many thought it could have sustained serious damage. However, the Kansas City Terminal Railway said it was barely injured.
It’s hard to know how many blows the Independence Avenue has seen and how many trucks have been destroyed.
“It seems like it’s gotten worse and worse over the past few years,” Fire Capt. Wade Wilsey from Fire Station 23 said.
They’re no stranger to the Independence Avenue Bridge.
“It’s definitely taken a lot of trucks. I don’t see it coming down anytime soon. It holds some weight. It’s tearing up a lot of vehicles,” Wilsey said.
About once a month Wilsey’s crew responds to a call that a truck is stuck beneath the bridge.
“To us, we’re just making sure nobody’s hurt. We’re there to make sure everybody’s OK and make sure the scene is secure. The damage to the truck is the same every time. They’re pretty tore up,” Wilsey said.
The bridge at the corner of Independence and Wilson avenues has been around since 1912. The sign says 12 feet clearance, but Wilsey said many follow their GPS instead of reading the sign.
And while some don’t read the sign, John Stoner got it tattooed on his arm. Some might call him an Independence Avenue Bridge enthusiast.
“It’s iconic in Kansas City,” Stoner said. “Everybody likes the fountains, shuttlecocks, Chiefs and Royals, and that bridge is just a part of it. It’s like the blue-collar version of a landmark in this city.”
The city of Kansas City said although the bridge is owned by the railroad, it is still working on making signage improvement to reduce crashes. Some said a height indicator before the bridge could help deter drivers.
“Use some common sense. Look at the sign above. Turn the truck around. Don’t be in a hurry,” Wilsey said.
“Probably be there another hundred years,” Stoner said.
It’s not clear what the city fully plans to do for improvements. They say the possibilities range from low-cost options to larger projects. A design firm is in the process of working on ideas.
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