Blue River Channel Improvements

Client: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District
Completion Date: 2004
Location: Kansas City, Mo.


The Blue River channel modification project was a federal flood control project intended to reduce flood damages along the river as it passed through a heavily urbanized industrial area in Kansas City, Mo. The basic nature of the project was a major channel improvement intended to convey a design rate of discharge of 35,000 cfs within the banks of the enlarged channel. Burns & McDonnell prepared plans and specifications for two reaches of the Blue River project.

Reach from 12th Street to 19th Street

In this reach, available right-of-way for the improvement was limited by the presence of extensive industrial facilities along the left bank and an auto salvage yard along the right bank. The design was further complicated by a number of deep-seated failure surfaces virtually throughout the length of the project on both banks, and the need for removal of the Guinnotte Dam, a concrete gravity dam and overflow weir centrally located in the reach.

Reach from Stadium Drive to Brush Creek

Plans and specifications for this reach were completed in 2001. This reach required approximately 1.4 million cubic yards of excavation. A number of significant tributaries entered the main channel in this reach, with the resultant need for extensive hydraulic analysis and design of the realigned tributary channels. In addition, the design of the channel improvements was closely coordinated with the design of three other railroad bridge replacements. The overall design also includes roughly one mile of adjacent, four-lane arterial roadway (Manchester Trafficway) on new alignment.


  • Channel improvements design
  • Hydraulic analysis
  • Constructed wetlands mitigation and enhancement


Reach from 12th Street to 19th Street

  • Steel H-pile stabilization
  • Deepened toe rock fills
  • 1.2 million cubic yards excavation
  • HTRW disposal and contaminated soil excavations
  • 3-D earthwork analysis requirements
  • 7 excavation classes required
  • Centropolis loop meander cutoff
    • ¾-mile river realignment
    • Constructed wetlands development
    • Hydrologic/hydraulic analysis
    • Mitigation wetlands
  • Manchester Trafficway urban arterial design coordination

    Reach from Stadium Drive to Brush Creek

    • Tributary drainage design including Brush Creek confluence
    • Design of baffled chute drop structures and impact dissipation-type outlets
    • Overbank fill area design for more than 1 million cubic yards of excess excavation
    • Urban area utility coordination for relocations and adjustments
    • Meander cutoff designed for improved fish habitat
    • Manchester Trafficway urban arterial design