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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 25, 2003

Little Blue Road and Rhinehart Road bridges closed

The Little Blue Road Bridge and the Rhinehart Road Bridge are closed.

The Little Blue Road Bridge is approximately one-half mile east of Noland Road and crosses the Little Blue River on the east side of Kansas City. The Little Blue Road Bridge was originally built in 1932 and is a 197-foot truss bridge with a 120-foot main span. This bridge is currently under design and was originally scheduled to start construction in the fall of 2004 with an estimated construction period of approximately 12 months.

Little Blue Road is closed to through traffic between Noland Road and Ess Road. Access to adjacent properties will be maintained at all times. Signed detour routes in effect are as follows:

    Eastbound: Eastbound traffic is detoured via Noland Road north to Highway 40; east to Lee’s Summit Road; south to Little Blue Road.

    Westbound: Westbound traffic is detoured via Lee’s Summit Road north to Highway 40; west to Noland Road; south to Little Blue Road.

The design, land acquisition and permitting processes involved with Little Blue Road Bridge are being investigated to find methods to accelerate the start of construction on the new structure. It is anticipated that the construction start time can be accelerated to early summer of 2004, with completion by early summer of 2005. In addition, Public Works Department staff is exploring the feasibility and costs involved with the construction of a temporary bridge to replace the existing structure until a new one can be completed.

The closure is the result of a fracture critical inspection conducted this week, which revealed severe deterioration in the floor beams and stringers under the bridge deck. This deterioration consists of severe loss of section and holes in critical load carrying members. Failure of a critical member could cause a sudden failure of a portion of the bridge.

This deterioration has significantly progressed since the bridge was inspected last year. This additional deterioration reduces the safe load carrying capacity of the structure to the point requiring closure. The previous posted weight limit on the bridge was 5 tons.

The Rhinehart Road Bridge is between Noland Road and Lee’s Summit Road north of 87th Street. The bridge crosses Cedar Creek just south of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks on the east side of Kansas City. The Rhinehart Road Bridge was originally built in 1904 and is a 102-foot long truss bridge. This bridge is currently under design and was originally scheduled to start construction in the spring of 2006 with an estimated construction period of approximately 12 months.

Rhinehart Road is closed to through traffic between Little Blue Road and East 87th Street. Access to adjacent properties will be maintained at all times. Signed detour routes in effect are as follows:

    Southbound: Southbound traffic is detoured via Little Blue Road east to Lee’s Summit Road; south to Colbern Street; west to 350 Highway; north to East 87th Street; east to Rhinehart Drive.

    Northbound: Northbound traffic is detoured via East 87th Street west to 350 Highway; south to Bannister Road; east to Lee’s Summit Road; north to Little Blue Road; west to Rhinehart Road.

The funding, design, land acquisition and permitting processes involved with the Rhinehart Road bridge are being investigated to find methods to accelerate the start of construction on the new structure. Public Works Department staff anticipates that construction of a replacement structure may start in the fall of 2004, and anticipate that the road will reopen in the fall of 2005.

The closure is the result of a fracture critical inspection conducted this week, which severe deterioration in the bottom chord of the main load carrying elements of the bridge. This deterioration consists of severe loss of section and holes in angles and plates that the truss is built from. Failure of a critical member could cause a sudden failure of a portion of the bridge. This deterioration has significantly progressed since the bridge was inspected last year. This additional deterioration reduces the safe load carrying capacity of the structure to the point requiring closure. The previous posted weight limit on the bridge was 3 tons.

    
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