Route 169 Between Wheeler Airport and Route 9 Closes Saturday
Highway closure to span five months; plan now for detours
KANSAS CITY – MoDOT will close Route 169 from just north of the Wheeler Downtown Airport to Route 9 beginning a minute past midnight on Saturday, July 14. The closure will last through mid-December, redirecting more than 35,000 vehicles each day to find another route.
The closure is necessary to make repairs to a wall that supports to east side of the northbound lanes, fix problems with the southbound lanes and with drainage between these lanes.
Both northbound and southbound Route 169 must be closed for this work because there just isn’t any room to do the repairs without a total shutdown.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Motorists will continue to have access to Wheeler Downtown Airport from Downtown via the Broadway Bridge, and from Harlem Road to the east. However, motorists accustomed to using the Broadway Extension to commute to and from Downtown must detour to other routes. The Heart of America (Route 9) and Bond (I-35, I-29 and Route 71) bridges are the closest alternate routes.
Route 169 along the Missouri River is different than most highways. It lies only a few hundred feet from one of the great rivers of North America. A levee keeps the river from flooding the nearby lowlands, including the Wheeler Downtown Airport, the railroad yards to the east, and the highway, which is built upon the levee.
Nearly 60 years ago, northbound Route 169 along the east bank of the Missouri River was a city road to the Downtown Airport. However, a solid road built on a levee made of dirt and sand presented challenges. The loose material must be kept in place so that the pavement remains solid and doesn’t break apart.
A “bin wall” 12 feet high in some places was built to keep the underlying base in place and support the road. The old bin wall is made up of corrugated steel panels. MoDOT took over this road in 1994, and in the last decade, those steel panels have rusted out enough that replacement is now necessary.
MoDOT and HDR, its engineering consultants, considered several solutions, realizing that a long-term solution requires extensive construction. Since an active railroad yard is only a few feet away, there is no room off MoDOT’s right of way to stage construction equipment. Highway closure is the only feasible method of making repairs, and the closure will be disruptive for months.
Last summer MoDOT tested a method to repair the 4,000+ feet of bin walls and determined that replacing the corrugated metal walls with concrete walls would best correct the problems.
This spring, a contract was awarded to Pyramid Construction Co. to replace deteriorated sections of the wall that support the northbound lanes; fix bridges that support the southbound lanes; repair guard rail and barrier; and replace drainage between the northbound and southbound lanes, which will resolve the highway’s problems for the long term.
Because there is so much wall removal and replacement to do, and little room in which to work, the project will take up to five months, requiring closure of southbound lanes and northbound lanes of Route 169.
For more information about other MoDOT projects, please visit MoDOT’s Website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity.
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