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.