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Drivers Cannot Stop Hitting a MO Bridge

Friday, December 4, 2020

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According to reports, an onslaught of collisions with an overpass on Independence Avenue near Wilson Avenue in northeast Kansas City have become quite the oddity.

So much so that the bridge even has Facebook and Twitter pages created after it.

The Bridge on Independence Ave

Built in 1912, the infrastructure has a 12-foot-high clearance and over the years has grown notorious amongst motorists for its frequent accidents involving box trucks and tractor trailers.

The Kansas City Terminal Railway Company, which owns the bridge, says the structure gets hit about twice a month, regardless of its $50,000 investment in signage and repairs over the past several years. Shawn Lauby, Director of Safety and Administration for KCT reports that the collisions are so common that occasionally they are not even notified that an incident occurred.

More photos of today's meal! ??

Posted by The Bridge On Independence Ave. on Sunday, November 15, 2020

“We went and added LED signs at the city’s right of way in the hopes of addressing a number of incidents that are happening,” Brad Peek, KCT’s Director of Transportation, told Kansas City’s Northeast News. “We’ve just tried to increase the visibility of the clearance. We’ve also looked at possibly lowering the roadway through there to possibly increase the clearance. Our engineers have found a number of utilities that keeps us from being able to lower Independence Avenue there.”

Just last month, the Kansas City Police Department reported that at least three trucks collided with the structure. No injuries were reported, but each of the tractor-trailers sustained damages. In another report, a FedEx box truck scraped its roof along the bridge’s underside, but apparently kept driving.

While Lauby noted to The Kansas City Star that the problem doesn’t seem to be resolving anytime soon, the KCT does frequently send engineers to inspect the structure after a collision, in addition to more routine inspections. Currently, the bridge remains structurally sound.

“Although these collisions may look rough, they’re not doing much to the bridge,” he said. “With regular upkeep, there’s no plans at all to replace that thing anytime soon. It’s in good condition. It was just designed at a time when you needed clearance for horse-drawn carriages, not 13-and-a-half foot semis.”

Noted on the bridge’s social media platforms (where the structure acts as its own persona), “I have been feasting on your human concoctions for decades. Your wheeled steel boxes are quite delicious. Please feed me more!”

While the actual creator of the platforms has requested to stay anonymous, they report that the platforms serve for local humor and are littered with memes, FAQs and collision photos.

Regarding possible solutions for the reoccurring collisions, Maggie Green, spokeswoman for the Kansas City Public Works Department, said the city has considered digging the street lower but, due to drainage issues, it would be too costly and complicated.

Although no ideal solution has been proposed, the city hopes that once the Missouri Department of Transportation completes its reroute project on U.S. 24, traffic will better divert GPS-reliant drivers to a major highway like Interstate 70.

The Department reports that a contractor has already ordered signs and plans to begin replacing the highway markers in the spring, with work slated to reach completition by July, when the state will remove the U.S. 24 designation from Independence Avenue.

“Independence Avenue is a major arterial road and it is a road that connects Independence, Missouri, to Kansas City, Missouri, so it tends to be a truck route,” Green said. “That is something that is a challenge at this particular location.”

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 9:06 a.m., Dec. 4, 2020, to correct the location of the bridge.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Bridges; Health and safety; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Quality Control

Comment from Jeremy Ethington, (12/4/2020, 8:07 AM)

I believe this bridge is in MO not KS

Comment from john schultz, (12/7/2020, 8:44 AM)

Too bad they can't hang chains from a taller structure in front of the bridge to make a lot of noise and warn drivers of the low overpass.

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