Bridge Design

A grant application was filed last week seeking $20 million to help finance construction of a new Missouri River bridge at Washington.

Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said her office filed the application Thursday, ahead of the deadline this week.

Included with the application are 29 letters of support from local, state and federal officials, said Bob Zick, chairman of the Missouri Highway 47 Bridge Committee.

Among those are letters from U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, Zick noted.

Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy said she also will contact the two senators from Missouri and urge them to support the grant for the bridge.

Zick said based on conversations he’s had with officials, the outlook for Missouri getting the federal TIGER grant “is not real positive.”

“It’s not anywhere near a slam dunk,” Zick told members of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee Monday.

If Missouri is awarded the TIGER grant, not only would it provide money to pay for proposed bridge enhancements, it also would expedite construction of the bridge project.

Wagner said if Missouri would win the grant, work “in the river” could begin in 2015.

The cost for bridge construction is still at about $48.5 million, Wagner told the committee. That does not include the cost of engineering and design work and right of way acquisition.

The proposed enhancements, which would be funded by the city and Franklin and Warren counties, were discussed during Monday’s meeting and also at Monday night’s city council administration/operations committee meeting.

Council members agreed to support the extra enhancments, including a decorative railing along the east side of the span which was not in the original plan, provided that the additional funds can be found in the budget.

See related story in this issue regarding the council’s discussion on funding and enhancement options.