KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Reconnecting Kansas City neighbors: That’s the goal for Mayor Quinton Lucas’ U.S. 71 Highway project.
Last August, Kansas City received a $5 million federal grant to study improvements along 71 Highway, particularly from 85th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
City leaders said construction of this east Kansas City highway displaced homeowners and forced businesses to close. Now they’re working to reverse the division it’s caused.
“Although we cannot right all past wrongs, we know that we can do better,” Lucas said Wednesday.
The initial focus for 71 Highway was to give commuters a direct link to downtown Kansas City, but construction in the 1990s caused other issues.
The highway split through neighborhoods and left families in the area to deal with loud traffic and safety concerns. The intersections on 71 Highway are among the city’s most dangerous when it comes to crashes.
“This is going to connect more neighborhoods. This is going to reinvigorate businesses up and down the Prospect Corridor, which were sorely lost when this highway came through this community,” Kansas City councilman Darrell Curls said Wednesday.
The goal of the project is to address long-term traffic concerns through better infrastructure, add sound barriers, and boost economic development funded by grants.
Kansas City is now taking requests for proposals on project management, responsible for analyzing the corridor, perform public outreach, and develop potential solutions.