A January 12 Record of Decision by the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) gave the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) the go-ahead to proceed with Interstate 29/35 highway improvements and a new landmark Missouri River crossing.
"The kcICON team has been working intensely behind the scenes preparing for this day, and now it's go time," said MoDOT kcICON Project Director Brian Kidwell. "We have less than five years to complete a major highway project on time and within our fixed $245 million budget." The project is scheduled to be completed no later than October 31, 2011.
The kcICON project will reconstruct/rehabilitate about four miles of Interstate 29/35 from just north of Route 210 (Armour Road) in North Kansas City, Mo., continuing south over the Missouri River into the northeast corner of the downtown Kansas City freeway loop. The project includes improving outdated interchanges and a new Missouri River bridge(s).
A 12-member Community Advisory Group, whose members were appointed by elected officials and civic leaders, has met twice monthly since March 2006 to provide MoDOT staff with input regarding bridge and corridor aesthetics. The group has also documented its concerns with regard to highway access and traffic management during construction.
"While we don't know how traffic will be impacted at this time, part of the criteria on which we'll evaluate the competing teams is how well they can deliver the most project within our budget with the least amount of disruption to the traveling public, area residents and businesses," said Kidwell. "We'll be able to share with the public how traffic will be impacted in September immediately following the Commission's selection of the team most highly qualified to successfully deliver the project."
"We recognize that one of the goals of the project is to work with our stakeholders and ensure that we respond to our stakeholders within the budget of this project," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "I believe that we have that level of trust in these individuals and their understanding of the community and we know this is important to the community."
A design-build process will be used to deliver the project in about half the time it might take with MoDOT's traditional design-bid-build process. "We're blazing new trails with the first design-build highway project in the Kansas City area," said Kidwell. "It's one of only three design-build pilot projects in the state of Missouri."
Construction could begin as early as this fall.