Emergency repairs close NB Route 291 bridge indefinitely

Crews will close the northbound Route 291 bridge over the Missouri River at Sugar Creek Wednesday for emergency repairs.

Crews closed the northbound Route 291 bridge over the Missouri River on Wednesday for emergency repairs.

The Missouri Department of Transportation found significant deterioration during a routine inspection.

The timeline for repairs is unknown.

Motorists traveling northbound will be moved onto the southbound Route 291 bridge, making traffic run one lane each way.

The 66-year-old northbound bridge carries almost 11,000 vehicles a day, but the closure will impact more than 22,000 motorists who travel both bridges daily. The highway is used by Eastern Jackson County residents to get to businesses, casinos and even the airport.

"The deterioration has gotten a lot worse," MODOT engineer Brian Kidwell said. "It had accelerated."

The same section of the bridge was shut down for months in 2009. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans a news conference for Thursday, in which he intends to use the bridge shutdown as a way to push for lawmakers to raise taxes to pay for road repairs.

A boost to the gas tax is under consideration in the Missouri General Assembly.

This is the second time in recent weeks that a major highway has been down in the Kansas City area due to deteriorating conditions.

Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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