Tuesday, May 02, 2017


Here's a look at an e-mail campaign hoping to avoid one of the biggest transit threats to Kansas City.


From: Councilman Scott Wagner

On Wednesday the City Manager and I will be attending the MODOT Commission meeting to make comments on the suggested plan for the Buck O'Neil/Broadway Bridge. To that end I hope you might participate with us.

Although asking you to come to Jefferson City and back may be problematic, I hope you might take the opportunity to look at the below letter under my signature and put it on your letterhead, sign, and get back to me by end of day Tuesday.

I will give testimony and deliver your letter Wednesday as a way to send the message that we find a two year closure and a rehabbed bridge as an unacceptable option.

If you have any questions let me know. Please feel free to share this with other interested parties. Thanks for your help.


Scott Wagner
Councilman, 1st District at-Large
Mayor Pro Tem

Here's the letter:

Michael Pace
Chairman, Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission
Missouri Department of Transportation
105 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65102

RE: U.S. 169 / O’Neil Bridge and MoDOT’s Draft STIP

Dear Mr. Pace,

I am writing to you to express strong support for a replacement, rather than a 35-year rehabilitation, for the Missouri River O’Neil Bridge at U.S.169.

In 2016, the Kansas City region, through the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KMCO) and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) entered into a partnership to create a long-term plan for the O’Neil Bridge and surrounding urban highways. At MoDOT’s recommendation, an FHWA Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) process was funded using $3 million in regional Surface Transportation Program funds and a local match from KCMO, which has appropriated nearly $1 million towards this effort. The PEL process is being managed through MARC, is well underway, and is expected to conclude in 2018. This study has already had public meetings and the public is expecting that one of the results of the study will be a comprehensive, long-term look at how a U.S. 169 river crossing can best serve the region for the next 75 years.

In March 2017, MoDOT District 4 announced that it planned to short-circuit this agreed to process by planning for and performing a 35-year rehabilitation of the bridge that would involve a nearly two-year closure beginning in 2019. While in the short-term a sustained closure of this bridge would have devastating economic and life-safety impacts to the Kansas City region, even more distressing would be the impacts of doubling-down long-term on a structure than cannot address the future needs of the region. In other words, the design of this 1950’s bridge does not meet the transportation needs for 2017 and beyond and a 35-year rehabilitation is neither sustainable nor prudent.

There is a long history of regional cooperation between MoDOT and its community partners in the Kansas City region. Numerous successful projects, such as the Bond Bridge and the Three Trails Crossing were the result of such regional collaboration. More recently, in 2014, MoDOT requested that the Kansas City region engage in a regional planning process as part of its Amendment 7 initiative. Subsequently, the Jackson County residents of Kansas City voted in favor of Amendment 7, the only urban area in the state to do so.

The regional stakeholders still wish to pursue such a collaborative process. As the Commission is being presented this month with Draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), and, as proposed, this Draft STIP would have irreversible and major short-term and long-term impacts on the Kansas City region, I respectfully request that MoDOT fully commit once again to a regional collaboration that would resolve these impacts before the rehabilitation as proposed in the Draft STIP becomes final. I am confident such issues could be resolved in the near term, given enough time for proper due diligence.

I ask that the Commission commit to such a process that would serve the Kansas City region’s economic engine for the next 75 years.



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