The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has hired a special crew, at an estimated cost of $200,000, to inspect the Buck O’Neil Bridge to make sure it’s safe for the estimated 50,000 drivers who cross it daily, 41 KSHB reports. The crew will spend the next three weeks performing the inspection.
MoDOT hired the crew due to the poor condition of the bridge, which is considered among the worst in the Kansas City area.
“It’s getting to the point now where it needs to be either rehabbed or replaced,” Daniel Niec, a MoDOT district engineer tells news station.
“It is a critical link to downtown, so we want to make sure we do not have an unplanned closure. If any one component on this bridge fails, the entire structure has the potential to fail. It’s getting to the point now where it needs to be either rehabbed or replaced. That’s why we pay very close attention to it.”
According to the news agency, more than 600 bridges are on MoDOT’s ‘critical condition’ list, and Niec says the Buck O’Neil Bridge is near the top of that list for the Kansas City area. Most bridges are inspected every other year, but, because of its condition, the Buck O’Neil Bridge is inspected every year.
MoDOT officials will review the report and determine whether the bridge should be replaced or rehabbed, which could cost an estimated $35 million. Rehabbing the bridge would extend its service life by as much as 20 years, Niec told the news agency.