Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Red Bridge Road Funding Approved

The Red Bridge in a photo taken this fall.

Another story that the Jackson County Advocate put on the front page last week was the story of the approval of the money for replacement of the bridge on Red Bridge Road and reconstruction of the road. Again, Google found only one mention of this event in the MSM of Kansas City: Kansas City Star's City Hall reporter Lynn Horsley reported on it December 10th. Here is the text of the article from the Advocate written by Andrea Wood.
After nearly a decade of debate and design, work on red Bridge will finally become a reality. On December 10th, the Kansas City city council unanimously approved the appropriation of nearly $13.5 million for the replacement of Red Bridge, as well as a number of improvements to Red Bridge Road from Holmes to Blue River. The city also approved a contract with Clarkson Construction to handle the improvements. The project will be funded by both the city and federal grants. Councilman John Sharp said that he felt concerns that residents had about the original plan for the bridge and road resulted in a scaled back project that was better for the community. Some residents had felt that a large bridge would become a bypass for trucks to get around traffic on I-435. "Now it will be a three-lane street and a two-lane bridge that will help move traffic safely and quickly, but won't attract new traffic." Sharp explained. Councilwoman Cathy Jolly said she hoped the bridge and road improvements would help bring about new opportunities for the Red Bridge Shopping Center. She added that the new Red Bridge would be a "signature bridge" for South Kansas City, reflecting the heritage of the area and reminding residents of the current bridge, which will become part of a pedestrian trail. The new bridge, which will span the Blue River floodplain and railroad tracks, will offer look-out nooks for a view of the surrounding park and historic wagon swales. Mayor Mark Funkhouser thanked Sharp and Jolly for their efforts on the plan. "You both were hit with this the day you took office, and I know you've taken a lot of advise from constituents on the this project," the mayor said.

It sounds like a good compromise was reached, although I have not personally seen the new design. This iconic bridge does need replacing; only the sturdiness and depth of its concrete pillars prevented the kind of condemnation that would provoke emergency measures. And no one will miss waiting for trains to pass. One sure thing: construction will be a pain in the neck. The utility work that had been going on all fall has given a small preview of that.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was no compromise reached. The proposed design is the original design. The city just came up with several other possibilities in between to make people think there was a compromise in the end. No one should be fooled. The proposed bridge will be very easy to widen in the future, and remember 71 highway is proposed as a major interstate all the way to the gulf. People think a going over the RR tracks is a good thing, but in order to do that, the bridge also has to be wider. I say be careful what you wish for. In a few years, waiting for a train may seem a lot better than putting up with 18-wheelers on Red Bridge.

Anonymous said...

Friends of Red Bridge came up with an alternative plan which would not cost nearly as much money and would be more in keeping with the character of the area; however, Councilman Sharp and Councilwoman Jolly refused to even look at it.

the observer said...

Anon(s):

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I was having a glass half full moment. I truly believe that most people are not aware of the possibilities for Red Bridge Road. As members of the communities around Red Bridge Road, we will have to view all of this with a jaundiced eye--and maybe be able to nip the worse in the bud.

See my earlier blog entry Re: hwy 71: http://southkansascityobserver.blogspot.com/2009/10/did-you-know.html

My guess is the majority do not know.

Anonymous said...

The Advocate is just as bad as the Star. They just take the press releases from the city and publish them without question.

Why didn't Andrea interview any of the people who were responsible for getting the council to order a re-design (Friends of Red Bridge)? Seems like a huge oversight.

The comments by Sharp and Jolly are absurd. Of course it will attract new traffic: it will be faster. Case closed. And what opportunities can there be for the shopping center when people are leaving the area, thanks to our pitiful local government? Maybe the shopping center can become a car dealership, and the trucks can get there now.

i.e. Sharp and Jolly.