The goal for Highway 47 bridge construction contractors is to conclude work in the Missouri River by spring to keep the project on schedule for a fall 2018 completion date.
Missouri Department of Transportation Area Engineer Judy Wagner told members of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee Monday that work is expected to progress through the winter.
Flooding always is a concern for bridge work during rainy seasons, and historic high waters earlier this year already delayed the $63 million bridge project
“There are a few more months of work in the river and hopefully we will be in and out before any spring floods hit,” Wagner said.
The bridge contractor, Alberici Constructors Inc., was delayed weeks due to flooding after nearly 11 inches of rain fell between April 26 and May 5.
When forecasts indicated flooding would impact the bridge site, the contractor moved equipment to higher ground. The river crested at 31.88 feet May 4.
Once the floodwater receded construction crews conducted a “substantial project cleanup.” That entailed removing debris from the access trail, work area, cofferdam, causeways and other areas.
Work had been slated to end Nov. 1, 2018, but the revised completion date is mid-December. In June, Alberici requested additional time to complete the project due to setbacks during flooding.
According to Wagner, crews are building a retaining wall to begin work on bent 10, also called an abutment, to hold up the embankment.
She noted crews will soon begin work on bent 10 of the bridge, which is located on the south side of the Missouri River. Bents are part of the bridge substructure used to support beams and girders.
Last week a 10-foot-wide shared-use path, to be used by pedestrians and bicyclists, was installed on the bridge deck along the first section on the north side of the bridge. When complete, the path will extend across the bridge, widening midway at a river overlook.
Alberici crews began work on the project in August 2016 after the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded the contract.
The project involves building a new 2,560-foot-long bridge just to the west — upstream — from the existing span, which was completed in 1936.
The new structure is designed with two 12-foot driving lanes, two 10-foot shoulders and a 10-foot-wide biking/walking path along the west side. An overlook, where walkers and bikers can stop and view the river and cityscape, will be at the center bridge pier.
The new bridge path will connect to a biking/walking path along Highway 47, north of the river, which ties into the state’s Katy Trail, one of the longest continuous bicycle trails in the United States.