KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Plans for the future of two closed bridges in Kansas City, Kansas, are expected to be announced later this month.

The Central Avenue Bridge over the Kansas River between Third and James streets has been closed since Feb. 1, 2021.

This comes after a firm contracted to evaluate Unified Government-owned bridges noted extensive deterioration of the 102-year-old structure’s bottom truss members. To protect the public, the county engineer ordered the bridge closed immediately for further analysis for fear of failure.

The Kansas Avenue Bridge, from River Park Drive to American Royal Drive on the KCK side, was closed in July of 2022 following an inspection.

The UG’s Public Works Department is finalizing the plan to implement repairs that will allow the bridge to re-open at limited capacity this year (likely with lane reductions), according to Public Works spokesperson Dave Reno.

The complete repair plan, and the associated timeline, will be presented to the UG’s Public Works & Safety Standing Committee on March 27 at 5 p.m.

Reno said the Kansas Department of Transpiration is exploring its options for work on the Central Avenue and Interstate 70 interchange and would like to know the UG’s plan for the Central Avenue bridge, as it could influence the design decision they make on the interchange.

“That discussion should help the governing body provide Public Works and KDOT with direction moving forward,” Reno said.

The Central Avenue Bridge will also be discussed at the March 27 meeting.

Another bridge in KCK unexpectedly was also forced to close this week. On Monday, a truck carrying an excavator crashed into the Mill Street overpass on I-70. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Reno said Public Works and KDOT are reviewing the bridge inspection report now and that there isn’t a timeline for re-opening it yet.

“The re-opening timeline will depend on how severely the bridge was damaged and how extensive the needed repairs are,” Reno said.

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Reno said for now, commuters should use an alternate route like Seventh Street, 10th Street, or the 18th Street Expressway.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration announced over $500 million has been made available to Kansas for 2023 for infrastructure investments.