The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Kansas City Missouri Police officers, and social workers responded to the I-435 and 24 highway interchange Friday morning to clean up the mountains of trash generated by transients camping under the bridge.
Acting on numerous citizen complaints, a crew of nine MoDOT workers swept, scraped, and loaded an eight-yard dumpster to the point of overflowing, full of everything from leftover clam-shell food containers to buckets full of human waste.
According to Ryan Davis with MoDOT, this location is one of the worst in the city.
“We’re down here at least three times a year,” Davis said as a skid steer dumped a load of trash into the dumpster. “This location, the Paseo and Beardsley Road are probably the worst in the city right now,” Davis said.
KCPD Officer Greg Smith said today’s mess was the worst he’s seen at this location.
“This is really bad today. They’ve even damaged the structure of the bridge with the fires they’ve lit up under there,” Smith said as KCPD Officer Pat Byrd pointed to a scorched area where the aluminum concrete underlayment had been warped due to numerous fires between the steel I-beams supporting the Interstate overhead.
KCPD social worker Trena Miller spoke with a man named James who was living under the bridge.
James recently became homeless and indicated he’d take advantage of the services offered.
“Yeah, I’m definitely going to give her a call because this ain’t no fun living like this,” he said.
Miller gave James two referral cards with telephone numbers for various agencies that offer assistance and resources to help homeless people get off the street.
Bernice Howe with the North Blue Ridge Neighborhood Association was pleased to see the cleanup.
“This had been a long time coming,” she said. “We’ve been dealing with this for over two years, they cause theft, arson, and our property values are suffering because of it.”
Officer Smith indicated that a meeting was being scheduled with neighborhood residents along with officials from MoDOT, the Police Department, and State Representative Ingrid Burnett to discuss possible remedies and a more permanent solution to the issue.
Watch the Northeast News for more information on when and where that meeting will take place.