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KDOT Moves Forward With I-635 Closure

June 22, 2005


News Contact: Jerry Younger, (785) 296-3881 or jerome@ksdot.org

KDOT Moves Forward With I-635 Closure

Construction that will require closing the I-635 bridge over the Missouri River for up to 60 days will begin July 5 as planned.

Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller announced the decision to move forward in a letter to Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, who had requested that KDOT delay the closing until construction on the Paseo Bridge in Kansas City, Mo., was completed.

The Paseo was closed on May 17 for urgent repairs and is scheduled to remain closed through November.

Although commuting times will increase with both river crossings closed, the cost of delaying the project was too prohibitive to not move forward with the scheduled closure. KDOT and the prime contractor estimate that delaying the project could cost up to $2 million and push the construction on I-635 back to 2007.

Secretary Deb Miller said she regrets the inconvenience the bridge closure will cause travelers, but stressed that KDOT and MoDOT had worked together to study the traffic impact of the temporary closings of the I-635 and Paseo bridges before a final decision was made. “I assure the citizens of Missouri and Kansas that we (KDOT) have worked with our partners at MoDOT to coordinate not only this construction work, but the other projects we have in the Kansas City metro area,” said Miller.

Traffic models were built by MoDOT to determine if the remaining river crossings would have the capacity to handle the increased traffic from the closed bridges. The models show that the other bridges in the metro area have enough capacity to handle the increased traffic, although there will be congestion and increased commute times during the morning and evening rush hours.

Both MoDOT and KDOT are continuing efforts to adjust signals, implement additional traffic controls and encourage car-pooling and mass transit usage during this time. KDOT will also be adding dedicated right and left-hand turning lanes at the US-69/K-5 intersection to increase capacity. Both departments will continue to look for other solutions to help alleviate congestion along the remaining river crossing routes.

“I offer my sincere apology to the commuters who will be inconvenienced by the temporary closing of the I-635 bridge. We considered many options before concluding that we must complete as planned this key component of the larger I-635 project,” said Miller.

The current $45 million project is the last of a series of projects on I-635. Construction was completed late last year between Swartz Road and 43rd Street. The $88 million project was highlighted by the reconstruction of the I-70 interchange and the reconfiguration of the State Street interchange.

“We are at the tail end of a very large project that will continue to keep this highway a safe and efficient route for travelers for years to come. We have taken steps to make sure that the bridge is closed for the minimal amount of time,” said Miller.

To expedite the project, KDOT has put in place a series of incentives and disincentives. The contractor will be assessed a disincentive fee of $10,000 for each day the closure continues beyond 60 days. KDOT will also provide the contractor a $10,000 a day bonus for opening I-635 in less than 60 days.

The work to I-635 in northern Wyandotte County includes replacing the pavement between K-5 and the Missouri River in the southbound lanes and approximately 1,000 feet of pavement just south of the bridge in the northbound lanes.

KDOT plans to reconstruct the I-635/K-5 interchange next year, which is serving as part of the official detour this year. The detour for southbound traffic will be US-69 to K-5 to I-635 and K-5 to US-69 to I-635 for northbound traffic. Congestion is expected during the morning and evening rush hours and commuters are encouraged to find the route that best works for them.