The city of Union will soon take another step toward building a new bridge over Birch Creek.

Union City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said the city is in the right of way purchase phase of the project. He said discussions on the proposed purchases will begin in December and will be conducted during an  executive session with the mayor and aldermen.

Once the right of way agreements are secured, the city will be able to seek bids and begin the project.

Earlier this year, aldermen approved an agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation that allows the city to accept federal funds for the project.

According to the East-West Gateway Council of Government’s (EWGW) most recent budget, the bridge project is expected to carry a total cost of $1,049,513. The local share of that is $228,177.

The project involves the removal of a low-water crossing on Denmark Road over Birch Creek. Once that’s done, a new all-weather bridge with 6-foot sidewalks along one side will be constructed.

Zimmermann said the 101-foot long span will be the longest bridge in the city when finished.

“It will be the biggest bridge that we own,” he said.

Once everything is approved, construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2020, according the project schedule provided to aldermen. That time line may change and work could start in 2021, Zimmermann said.

The city has been talking about replacing the low-water crossing for some time. In 2016, the city decided to pursue federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding for the bridge.

The bridge is located about one-quarter mile west of the north outer road of Interstate 44. The bridge is comprised of three slabs.

Zimmermann reported in 2016 that the top slab had “failed.”

The STP funds require a local match of 20 percent, while 80 percent of the project would be funded federally through a grant administered through EWGW.

The project is considered the third phase of Denmark Road improvements. The first phase was completed in 2014 and included new lanes and shoulders from Prairie Dell Road to just east of St. Andrews Drive. Sidewalks also were installed along that stretch of the road.

The second phase was finished last summer. A new bridge near St. Andrews Drive was constructed over an unnamed tributary of the Bourbeuse River. The bridge opened in mid-June.

Also as part of the project, a new roundabout was built at Denmark Road and St. Andrews Drive. The roundabout was designed to address speeding.

Other improvements made to the road included lane widening, resurfacing and sidewalk construction from St. Andrews Drive to Grandview Farms Drive.