The cones are gone, the road is open and Northland commuters can sleep in another 10 minutes. The stretch of the Broadway Extension U.S. 169 near the Wheeler Downtown Airport is open.
The highway opened about 5 a.m. Wednesday. The work was originally slated to finish Dec. 16. The dry weather in the summer allowed contractors and construction crews to finish ahead of schedule.
The projected $13.6 million project cost actually only cost $11.2 million, and the contractor is eligible for $1 million for completion six weeks ahead of schedule.
The project on U.S. 169 included the removal and replacement of about a mile of bin wall holding up the east side of the northbound lanes, the repair and rehabilitation of the southbound lanes and drainage improvements.
The three-and-a-half month closure was a headache for about 35,000 commuters each day who traveled and had to find another route across the Missouri River, which added more drive time to their daily commute.
Many are thrilled the road will open early.
"Coming home, I usually leave here about 1:30 p.m. Going through North Kansas City with all the trucks and traffic that would be on the Broadway Extension is pretty slow," Northland commuter Ginny Johnson said.
Johnson, co-manager of the Northland Exposure Artists' Gallery, also said she didn't see a drop in business during the closure. She believes many customers learned how to navigate the detour.
Officials say the reopening should take much of the detoured traffic off the Heart of America and Bond bridges.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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