Declaring the iconic structure "good to go for another 50 years," Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders joined with Independence Mayor Eileen Weir to rededicate the Stone Arch Bridge during a special ceremony Wednesday, May 28.
The bridge on Blue Ridge Boulevard crosses over Truman Road, separating unincorporated Jackson County and the City of Independence. The Jackson County Public Works Department completed six months of renovations to the historic span, which was originally built in 1906.
"Our goal was to make improvements to the roadway and to bolster safety, while maintaining the bridge’s historical integrity," County Executive Sanders said prior to the rededication. "This landmark represents a gateway to Independence, our county seat."
Sanders, Mayor Weir and other dignitaries cut a ceremonial ribbon atop the bridge, which features panoramic views of Independence's skyline to the east and Kansas City's to the west.
In addition to replacing the overpass's roadway, the Public Works Department reinforced the stone wall, installed periodic rod iron fencing for safety and applied sealant to the stone-facing to extend its life. New lights were also put in place to showcase the bridge's face at night.
The project came in under the budgeted amount of $378,475. It was designed to be included as part of the Truman Road Green Gateway Project, a plan Jackson County and Mid-American Regional Council are developing to enhance the Truman Road corridor.
Traffic on the Stone Arch Bridge reopened May 1 -- exactly six months after work on the renovations began September 30, 2013.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The Stone Arch Bridge was originally built in 1906 for $15,000. A 1911 Kansas City Times article noted the bridge "was at the time of its construction the largest single-arch stone bridge west of Ohio."
- When the Stone Arch Bridge was completed in 1906, what is now Mount Washington Ceremony was, at the turn of 20th Century, a 382-acre amusement park. The bridge served as the western boundary of Washington Park.