Liberty bridge reopened, but more roadwork to come

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“Road Works Ahead”by Glyn Lowe Photoworks is licensed under CC BY 2.0

To the excitement of Liberty, Mo. natives, the new dual bridge on Missouri Highway 152 has been completed and reopened as of Aug. 28. Miles Excavating was the lead contractor on this project and managed to have the bridge open to drivers before Labor Day weekend.

To watch a 30-second time-lapse of the bridge from start to finish, click here.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled for Aug. 26 for the reopening of the bridge, but it had to be canceled due to inclement weather.

The new bridge features what is called a displaced-left interchange, meaning eight lanes on the larger bridge that condenses to three lanes on the smaller bridge for those going to or coming from Interstate-35 North.

The need for this expansion can be seen in the flourishing community of Liberty. The Liberty Public School District is rapidly growing and currently educates over 12,000 students annually. Liberty was ranked seventh out of 100 of the best places to live by CNN Money Magazine in recent years.

When asked how vital the new bridge was, William Jewell College first-year and Liberty local, Carly Mantia, said, “It’s the main highway throughout Liberty, so [roadwork has] really impeded people’s travel. People who either live in Liberty or are passing through had to plan an extra 10 to 15 minutes to account for the bridge being out.”

“Route 152 is a connector for a lot of folks, including those headed to elementary, middle and high schools,” said Markl Johnson, a spokesman for MoDOT in Kansas City.

The bridge replacement is just one part of the 152 Interchange Project, which is now expected to cost $26.2 million instead of the initial estimate of $30 million. The project is being paid for by the Missouri Department of Transportation, the City of Liberty and Kansas City, Mo.

According to the Liberty Public Works Director, Andy Noll, if the project was finished 20 days early, an incentive of $500,000 would be paid to Miles Excavating by MoDOT. Since the project was completed a little more than 20 days early, Miles Excavating will likely get this bonus.

The whole project is not over just quite yet. At the Aug. 26 Liberty City Council meeting, Noll said that the south and northbound lanes of Conistor Street will be closed at the intersection of Kansas Street for about two weeks, starting from Sept. 3. This roadwork includes the installation of gutters and curbs, plus the addition of pavement and sidewalks.

Kansas Street and Missouri 291 are also getting wider streets and additional turn lanes. Furthermore, the south side of Kansas Street and Missouri 291 are adding a multiple-use path for bicycles and pedestrians, which will stretch across the new 152 bridge. The majority of the Kansas Street construction will be done by the end of 2019, but more work on Highway 291 and Kansas Street will continue until August 2020. However, Noll is confident that roadwork will be finished before August 2020.

Likewise, new pavement is being laid down on the on and off ramps at the junction of I-35 and Kansas Street, and is expected to be done Sept. 15.

For those students who plan to attend a concert at the Sprint Center or who wish to satisfy their sweet tooth at Insomnia Cookies, take Route 291 S and then cut over to MO-210 W to best avoid the roadwork on and around I-35,

Additionally, crews will be milling and paving on Mill Street. This is to be completed by Sept. 11.

The City of Liberty, Mo. Government recently posted on Facebook, “We appreciate everyone’s patience as this project continues. Keep an eye out for the crews who are continuing to work.”

As a friendly reminder, please wear your seatbelt, put your phone down and use caution when driving in work zones.

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