The Broadway Bridge, constructed in 1958, serves as an important link between the Northland, Downtown and other parts of the Kansas City region. Pending approval by the Mid-America Regional Council Board of Directors and Kansas City, Missouri, City Council, MARC will lead an 18-month study to identify reasonable strategies to improve safe travel and traffic flow on the bridge and improve connections to downtown on the adjacent stretch of I-70.
Planning partners include the city of Kansas City, Missouri; the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas; the Missouri and Kansas Departments of Transportation; and the Federal Highway Administration.
The Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study, scheduled to be completed in mid-2017, is the first step in a process that will likely take a number of years to complete.
“Replacing or rebuilding a bridge across the Missouri River is a significant undertaking,” said Ron Achelpohl, director of MARC’s transportation and environment department. “Federal regulations require a sequence of plans and studies to help ensure that projects of this scale meet the community’s long-term needs.”
PEL studies use a collaborative approach for transportation decision-making that incorporates environmental, community and economic goals into the planning process. The Broadway Bridge/I-70 North Loop PEL study will consider a wide range of issues — not just traffic flow across the river, but also how transportation improvements might improve connections between the River Market and Downtown and how various options for improvement would impact the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, the Port of Kansas City, Missouri River navigation, bicyclists and pedestrians, transit and railroads, as well as transportation linkages across the state line and economic development initiatives in surrounding areas.
The study will be paid for by $3 million in federal Surface Transportation Program funds and $850,000 in local matching funds from the city of Kansas City, Missouri. “When you consider that the Bond Bridge corridor project cost nearly $300 million to complete, investing in careful planning now makes sense,” said Achelpohl. “We need to get it right.”
As a first step, MARC will soon release Request for Qualifications and Proposals for qualified teams to help conduct the study. Proposals will be due in November, with planning work expected to commence in early January.