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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s a renewed desire to save and preserve the existing Buck O’Neil Bridge, a multimillion-dollar effort likely to require support from civic-minded community partners. However, they only have two years at most to do so.

After the Missouri Department of Department unveiled the new Buck O’Neil Bridge, some, including Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, expressed dissatisfaction. Lucas has communicated his support for turning the bridge into something else.

“The City — at least me and I can get to seven — remain committed to keeping the existing bridge for positive public use long term for pedestrian and parks purposes,” Lucas said in a Feb. 24 tweet.

One local firm, Hoet Landscape Architecture, received positive buzz for a conceptual rendering depicting the current Buck O’Neil Bridge made over as a public park.

Buck O'Neil Bridge
Existing Buck O’Neil Bridge, set for demolition in 2023.

“Sometimes, you just need to see it to believe it…,” the firm tweeted on Feb. 25.

Should Kansas City officials decide to save the existing bridge, they will need to make that determination before its structure is removed, in mid- to late 2023. It’s demolition will not allow for any pieces to be salvaged afterward, MoDOT Communications Manager Melissa Black said.

Environmental documents right now state that Clarkson Construction Co., Massman Construction Co. and HNTB Corp. will be in charge of destroying the current bridge and picking up the pieces from the riverbed.