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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The lack of east-west connections is a common complaint among those who live north of the river.

Now, Kansas City is taking a big step to do something about it.

City and Platte County leaders have been working to get a new 4 lane bridge across Interstate 29 at Old Tiffany Springs Road for 20 years.

During that time that city has been socking money away a little at a time from the KCI Corridor tax district to pay for this project’s $11 million cost.

A federal grant worth $4 million also is helping make this upgrade a reality.

With new shopping and housing popping up all around the area, leaders say straighter, safer thoroughfares have become a critical need.

“It does take a lot of effort because it takes a lot of money to build these bridges and roads,” said city councilwoman Teresa Loar. “We have to kind of stack up the money year after year after year to make things happen. I know the public gets very impatient on roads and bridges, but the cost is just so astronomical that for a city like Kansas City that is so big and so widespread it just takes a while.”

The new four-lane bridge will eliminate many of the curves and confusing turns leading to the current crossing. It will include new street lighting, sidewalks and a trail for others to get across the highway too.

Public investment is expected to fuel even more growth in the Northland. The U.S. Census Bureau says Platte County’s population has surged by more than 10 percent so far during this decade. That’s faster growth than any other county in the metro area.