Blast to bring down final arch of iconic Buck O’Neil Bridge in KC’s downtown area

A blast to take down the final arch of the iconic Buck O’Neil Bridge will take place this week and will require temporary lane closures on U.S. 169 in the northwest corner of Kansas City’s downtown, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced.

The blast is expected Tuesday, but the approximate time has not been finalized, said Brooke Rohlfing, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Kansas City District, in a news release.

The blast is closed to the public for safety purposes, but MoDOT plans to post videos to its Facebook page afterward.

Transportation officials plan temporary closures on Northbound U.S. 169 from 5th Street to Richards Road.

The blast, the last of three, will bring down what remains of the triple-arch, steel-truss bridge that opened in 1956 as a toll bridge run by Kansas City. Tolls ended in 1991, and the city transferred ownership of the bridge to MoDOT in 1992.

The bridge, formerly known as Broadway Bridge, was renamed in 2016 to honor Kansas City sports legend Buck O’Neil.

A blast in February destroyed the north arch of the bridge, and a second blast in April demolished the middle arch.

The bridge, which carried U.S. 169 over the Missouri River and served as a key regional connection between downtown Kansas City and the Northland, was nearing the end of its projected service life and needed to be replaced.

Earlier this year, northbound traffic on U.S. 169 was shifted to one of the newly built river bridges, ending an era in Kansas City. For now, the new southbound bridge carries northbound traffic over the river.

Southbound U.S. 169 has been closed at the Wheeler Downtown Airport, and traffic has been detoured via Interstate 29/35 over the Bond Bridge on the northeast corner of downtown.

Construction began in July 2021 and is expected to be completed in December.