Kansas City leaders got some good news from the federal government today.
Missouri Congressman Sam Graves announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grant to replace the Buck O’Neil Bridge.
The bridge carries 40,000 vehicles daily between downtown Kansas City and the Northland. At more than 60 years old, it’s nearing the end of its useful life.
Graves told KCUR this project has been a priority for most of his tenure in the U.S. House. He was first elected in 2000.
“We’ve been working diligently for the last two years, anyway, just really focused in on it, but we’ve been talking about it for years before that,” Graves said.
The city of Kansas City recently partnered with the Missouri Department of Transportation to make temporary repairs while they plan a full replacement.
MoDOT officials have said replacing the bridge would cost up to $200 million, but the department can only cover half of the cost, so Kansas City leaders have been working with other cities in the region to fund the other half.
That collaboration, city spokesman Chris Hernandez said, is part of why Kansas City got the grant.
“If we could demonstrate to the federal government that we were working on a resolution… that it would lead to a good grant,” Hernandez said.
The city, state and federal government have been working together on an environmental study, which is required before rehabilitating or replacing the existing bridge.
The new bridge will be wider and better for pedestrians. The current bridge will stay open during construction.
Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder also announced Thursday that the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, had received at $13.8 million grant to replace the Interstate 70 and Turner Diagonal highway interchange.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.