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Truckers question safety of Independence Avenue Bridge

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 9:07 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – The Independence Avenue Bridge is still standing strong despite numerous crashes.

Area truck drivers know of it, but visiting drivers may come to an accident-level surprise when getting near it. So, we looked into what could be changed to make everyone safer.

Executive Vice President of the Independent Driver’s Association Lewie Pugh said those kinds of accidents are common as drivers who aren’t from this area don’t know the roads well.

“If you’re a trucker and you’re not from Independence, you’re from 500 miles away, you don’t know how to get around this bridge or where you’re going,” Pugh said. “Your customer is on the other side of that bridge. You need to know how to get around there safely.”

The Independence Avenue Bridge was hit again Thursday by a semi-truck. A picture from Amanda Bennett showed the truck stuck and the 12-foot-sign still visible.

Pugh says drivers should be warned far before they reach the bridge to know if they can fit.

A start would be safety measures like warnings and signs leading up to the bridge.

“I have personally been on marked truck routes or highway routes I’m supposed to be on and, couple times, have come to a bridge where it wasn’t marked until I got there,” Pugh said. “Fortunately, I was able to get myself out of the situation. There was either a parking lot or somewhere I could turn around out of it. But, it is stressful and it’s not a fun thing.”

The city of Kansas City is working with KC Terminal Railway, who owns the bridge, for funding for signage.

KC Terminal Railway has spent $100,000 on repairs and signage over the past decade.

“Nothing is foolproof, of course,” Pugh said. “I think hanging things prior to the bridge is a good thing because that’ll get a person’s attention and hopefully stopped before they hit the bridge.”

The city did say the sign would be built further away to give truckers advance warning to detour. The exact location is unknown at this time, however.

They also said they can’t raise the railway or lower the road because that would be a massive investment.