I-35 construction nightmare comes to an end near downtown

Great news, Interstate 35 commuters: It’s over.

The last of the striping and removal of barrels for the $48 million project to fix 18 bridges and ramps in or near downtown Kansas City were completed during Tuesday’s rush hour.

That allowed all lanes of I-35 to reopen, as well as the busy on-ramp from Broadway.

“We are out of there,” Missouri Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Porter said Wednesday.

“We are happy to be out of there.”

The work affected probably the Kansas City area’s most congested parts of town, with average daily traffic of 380,000 vehicles through the loop, Porter said.

The most profound impact was on I-35 southwest of downtown, which carries an average of 106,000 vehicles daily one-way. Crews re-decked I-35 over Southwest Boulevard to 20th Street, which was built in 1947 and hadn’t been re-decked since. Other work included replacing the 12th Street bridge and ramps at I-35.

At the same time, Kansas City decided to rebuild the Main Street bridge over Interstate 670.

Many of the other bridges and ramps were finished this fall. Crews had hoped to be done earlier, but the recent cold snap didn’t help.

This year’s project also caps about seven years’ worth of work downtown that totaled more than $70 million. The Truman, Oak and Locust Street bridges over Interstate 70 were upgraded in 2007, and Broadway over I-670 was improved in 2011.