LIBERTY — Public Works Director Andy Noll told the Liberty City Council Monday, Aug. 12, that Miles Excavating, the lead contractor on the Missouri Highway 152 construction project, will give the council and other city leadership the chance to cut a ribbon on the almost-completed Missouri Highway 152 bridge project by the end of August.
“It’s been 11 weeks since the old bridge was demolished and Miles Excavating has told us that we can look forward to a celebration at the end of the month,” Noll said.
Mile Excavating has focused resources on building a set of two bridge structures that will move traffic more efficiently through the corridor. Designs call for a capacity of 11 lanes, three more than the narrow ones that had been operating for several years on the old bridge structure.
Bridge demolition took place over the weekend of May 31. By June 2, the bridge was gone and all the rubble removed.
The goal for Miles Excavating and Missouri Department of Transportation is to have the new spans open to traffic by Friday, Aug. 30. The company was given 108 days from June 3 to finish this key part of the contract in order to receive incentives. However, the bridge could be open before Labor Day, 20 days ahead of schedule.
“The possibility of completing the interchange 20 days early could mean an incentive of $500,000,” Noll said.
City Administrator Curt Wenson said the incentive will be paid by MoDOT.
“Miles Excavating has been very diligent in getting ahead on this job and minimizing disruptions,” he said. “I’m pleased with how the project is moving.”
Wenson said with school back in session, alternate traffic routes may be congested.
“People are going to have to be more patient on those alternate routes as more cars with students will be using them,” he said. “Be patient and give yourself more time. That time may be necessary during those first few days when the bridge opens anyway.”
Once finished, the larger bridge will be eight lanes wide while the smaller one will be three lanes. The new design allows drivers going to or coming from the north on I-35 to be diverted onto the smaller bridge. This is called a displaced-left interchange.
The city of Liberty is responsible for the Kansas Street portion of remaining roadway improvements from the bridge to Missouri Highway 291. The bulk of the roadway will be three lanes with two turn lanes. From Blue Jay Drive to Highway 291, there will be two lanes with the chance to create a third lane if needed in the future, Noll said.
The work is a collaboration between Liberty, Kansas City and MoDOT.
“While the interchange will be completed sooner than expected, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still more work to be done along Kansas with some lane closures and other hiccups as the road at the front door of Liberty is widened,” Noll said.
There will be a 5-foot sidewalk along with north side of Kansas and a 10-foot multiuse path along the south side. There will also be a crosswalk at the intersection with Highway 291.
“The improvements are designed for the next 20 years or more,” Noll said.
Total project costs are estimated at $26.2 million.
Most of Kansas Street is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2019, but work will continue on Kansas Street and Highway 291 until August of 2020.
“I foresee the total project being completed much earlier than August 2020,” Noll said.