KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Drivers on Interstate 70 probably noticed that the new Manchester Bridge opened for traffic in both directions over the weekend.
The Manchester Bridge originally was built in 1959 and had become a constant maintenance problem as chunks of the bridge deck kept falling off of it.
The Missouri Department of Transportation's Kansas City district has 120 bridges in critical condition, similar to the rating of the old Manchester Bridge, but after spending $63 million on the new crossing MoDOT says it has no more funding to replace bridges.
So as connectors in the metro area deteriorate, they could eventually be closed.
"We're worried about the entire system," said Brian Kidwell, MoDOT Assistant District Engineer. "There's a lot of big bridges out there that require significant investments. We've got the Broadway Bridge, we've got the 435 bridge over the Missouri River. We've got several bridges that are on our critical list. Right now we have no identified funding."
Crews had to patch holes on the Manchester Bridge on a near monthly basis because of the volume of traffic it handles. The new crossing is a better design, with eventually four lanes in each direction. Engineers expect it to need little maintenance and last for 75 years.
There are many similarly designed bridges in the state that continue to age at a time when money for roads and bridges is at its lowest level in decades.