The Watchdog

Bits of hope for a bridge on 151st Street

The problem

Since 2007, the Watchdog has periodically pawed around a bridge near the Missouri-Kansas line, but he’s never found any bones. Now he’s back at it.

Brian Frazier of Overland Park is the latest in a line of people who have wanted to know when the bridge on 151st Street between Kenneth and Holmes roads will be open to traffic again.

The one-lane wooden span had a history of temporary closures caused by cars that exceeded the weight limit and speed restrictions. Then it closed altogether in 2008 after a heavy vehicle damaged it. Officials thought it could be replaced as early as 2009.

Obviously that hasn’t worked out.

The answer

By 2010, it became quite clear that this project wasn’t going to move as quickly as planned. The economic downturn hit, and it was difficult for Overland Park and Kansas City to allocate funds in the same time frame.

Now, though, another timeline is emerging.

Last fall, Kansas City, Overland Park, Jackson County and Loch Lloyd Development entered into an agreement for getting the problem fixed, said Sean Reilly, a spokesman for Overland Park. The document outlined responsibilities and financial obligations.

After being dropped earlier, the project is back in Overland Park’s capital improvement plan.

Kansas City is managing the project, which calls for the new bridge to be built just south of the current one, said public works spokesman Sean Demory.

Design work will begin early this year, and construction is expected to start in early 2016.

The Watchdog says this crossing is important to folks in growing areas of Jackson, Johnson and Cass counties, so he hopes the bridge gets built this time. If not, he’s always happy to fetch the latest bad news.

Do you have a problem or a question about a public issue? Write to the Watchdog, The Kansas City Star, Newsroom, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108, or send email to watchdog@kcstar.com. Include your name, phone number and city of residence.

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