Anyone who drives under the Stone Arch Bridge over Truman Road can’t miss its unusual architecture.
The Blue Ridge Boulevard bridge, which dates to the early 1900s, separates Independence from Kansas City and a small unincorporated area of Jackson County.
So how important is this quaint structure?
Independence Mayor Eileen Weir described its recent reconstruction as a “religious emblem for the unification of two cities.”
Weir was among the dignitaries who presided over the rededication of the bridge last Wednesday after the structure underwent six months of repairs.
From the bridge, the Kansas City skyline can be seen to the west. Independence can be observed to the east.
The scenery, once obscured by overgrown trees and vegetation, is visible again.
Wrought-iron fencing has been added atop the bridge for safety, and lighting now illuminates the bridge at night. Crews reinforced and sealed the stone to extend the life of the structure.
“This landmark represents a gateway to Independence, our county seat,” said County Executive Mike Sanders. “We want it to be standing in use for another 100 years.”
Also attending was Jerry Page, who was Jackson County’s public works director when the project was developed.
At the ceremony, Sanders gave a brief history of the bridge, once a popular rendezvous spot for couples.
“The Stone Arch Bridge is the gateway to the front porch of the city of Independence,” he said.
The bridge restoration is just one of many efforts by a coalition that’s working to redevelop the Truman Road Corridor. The Truman Gateway Redevelopment Committee includes residents as well as government, school and business leaders.
“I’m just ecstatic that it’s happened and it’s all part of a project here,” said Donna Pittman, chairwoman of the redevelopment committee. She is the proprietor of Curt’s Famous Meats, 10101 E. Truman Road.
“The bridge is a historic part of our community, so we’re just proud that the county was ... able to renovate it and keep it intact and it looks better than it ever has.”
Jackson County officials said the project cost less than the budgeted $378,475 and was finished ahead of schdule.
To reach Valerie Velikaya, send email to email@example.com.