New and improved look for 24

Mike Genet
The Missouri Department of Transportation has replaced and reopened the U.S. 24 bridge near the Truman Library in northwest Independence.

The new U.S. 24 bridge over Delaware Street/Bess Truman Parkway in front of the Truman Library & Museum is open for drivers as well as for pedestrians crossing underneath.

The Independence bridge, closed since September for demolition and replacement, reopened at the end of May and includes separate pedestrian walkways. To avoid a full-scale detour, the Missouri Department of Transportation diverted traffic along one lane on the exit and entrance ramps in both directions.

After MoDOT reopened the bridge, it closed the ramps for a couple weeks to repave on and near Delaware Street/Bess Truman Parkway. MoDOT coordinated the bridge replacement to coincide with the presidential library’s closure for renovation.

The project cost $2.7 million, and the city of Independence paid about $464,000 of that for enhancements. The city has budgeted $50,000 for Truman-related artwork to go up on the bridge retaining walls, but a selection committee requested some revisions from the selected artist, and the final artwork has not yet been revealed.

The city said it wanted the artwork panels to have “drive-by” and “selfie” appeal, and to incorporate the famous photograph of Truman in silhouette walking across the street in the Square and a quote from when he and Bess Truman returned when he left office in 1953: “It's good to be back home, in what I call the center of the world – Independence, Missouri. I think it's the greatest town in the United States.”