Buck O’Neil Bridge southbound traffic shuts down starting Monday for new bridge project

Southbound 169 will be closing for 600 days
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 5:46 AM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Thousands of drivers using the Buck O’Neil Bridge southbound will need to change course starting Monday morning.

Southbound lanes are closing as part of the new bridge project that will be completed in a few years, which will install a new southbound bridge. Crews are closing southbound lanes of U.S. 169 Highway no later than rush hour Monday and they will stay shut down until December 2024. The southbound lanes on the Buck O’Neil Bridge will stay closed forever.

In total, it’s going to be closed for 600 days.

Traffic from southbound 169 will detour to I-29 and the Bond Bridge. Drivers can also alter routes using the Heart of America Bridge, Fairfax Trafficway, or Interstate 635. This construction is set to complete the project with the flyover ramps to Interstate 35.

Driver Information:

  • Northbound U.S. 169 will remain OPEN to traffic during this time.
  • Southbound U.S. 169 traffic will be detoured to I-29/I-35 (Christopher Bond Bridge).
  • Access to and from the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport will be available via southbound U.S. 169 at MO Route 9.
  • Southbound U.S. 169 south of MO Route 9 will be open for airport access only. There will be no access across southbound U.S. 169 via the Buck O’Neil Bridge.
  • Beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, crews will CLOSE the northbound U.S. 169 ramp to Richards Road until 3 p.m. to set up a temporary barrier.
  • Beginning on Thursday, Feb. 9, crews will CLOSE Richards Road at the Harlem Roundabout to Lou Holland Drive until approximately Aug. 2023 for bridge construction.

Motorists should also note that beginning in approximately March 2023, the following ramps will be closed until Dec. 2023:

  • The ramp from westbound I-70 to southbound I-35.
  • The ramp from Fifth Street to southbound I-35.

About 50,000 vehicles use the bridge every day, and even more would be using it with the NFL Draft coming into town, a potential Super Bowl parade taking over downtown, and NCAA March Madness coming to Kansas City around the corner.

“I look at it like a good thing because Kansas City has a lot of big things coming to it, the other bad thing is infrastructure breaks down over time. Bridges break down,” said Project Director James Pflum. “The Buck O’Neil bridge is 70 years old. We did a rehab on it five years ago on it, and that was to get us to this point.”

The bridge was built in 1956.

MoDOT said all work is weather permitting.

“Four-year project, there’s a lot that has to occur but we’re right exactly where we anticipated to be two years ago from this point. So, it’s really encouraging for us to keep hitting these milestones as we go each year,” said Pflum.