The replacement of two bridges in Union is going smoothly.

Union Assistant City Administrator James Schmieder provided an update on the project at the city’s transportation meeting Thursday afternoon. The committee meets quarterly to discuss and review the city’s transportation-related projects.

Schmieder told the committee from all reports he’s received, the project to remove and replace the Memorial Parkway and Christina Avenue bridges is going well. Work started on time and no major issues have been reported.

Crews have already totally removed the old Memorial Parkway bridge. Schmieder said soon work will move to the Christina Avenue span so it can be removed.

Roads around the bridge have been blocked off in preparation for the removal project. Crews are expected to start work on Christina possibly as early as Wednesday. Flooding at the Memorial Parkway site after rain at the end of August caused some schedule changes.

Detour signs are posted around the area of the two bridges alerting drivers to the road closures. Schmieder said the city hasn’t received many complaints about the project so far.

Union R-XI Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold, a member of the transportation committee, said he’s heard some complaints because of the impact near schools, but they haven’t been too bad. 

The project is slated to take 270 days meaning it should wrap up in May. 

Project Background

In June, the city awarded a contract to KCI Construction Company, St. Louis, for the replacement of the Memorial Parkway and Christina Avenue spans. KCI’s bid was for $1,671,364.73.

The city has had difficulty trying to replace the two bridges because of budgeting issues. The deal awarded to KCI was considered over budget, but the city agreed to use reserve funds to cover the overage.

The bid from KCI was the second for the Christina Avenue span and the second to come in over budget. Late last year aldermen rejected a bid for the Christina bridge because it was almost $200,000 more than engineers’ estimates.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and the city decided to package the Christina bridge with the Memorial bridge in hopes of lowering the costs. City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said this summer that didn’t quite work. He said the bids were helped slightly, but the overage was still there.

Zimmermann reported the bid from KCI are about 18 percent over estimates — mostly related to mobilization costs.

Because the bids were over the estimate twice, Zimmermann said it didn’t make sense to go out for a third round. He said another round of bidding likely wouldn’t produce any significant savings and would alter the project time line.

The project is being partially funded by federal money. Zimmermann said the federal portion of the project is a little over $1 million.

According to the EWGW TIP 2019-22 budget, the Memorial Parkway bridge was estimated to cost a total of $747,090 with the city paying $167,692.

The Christina Avenue bridge was budgeted at $906,655 with $491,856 being federal dollars and $327,501 being local money, according to the EWGW 2018-21 budget.

Work Being Done

The Christina Avenue work includes the complete removal and replacement of the bridge over Flat Creek near the city tennis courts. The project includes the construction of a 30-foot concrete slab span on concrete wall abutments.

The project also includes construction of the approach roadway, sidewalks, striping and more.

The Memorial Parkway project is the removal of the existing bridge also over Flat Creek located on Memorial Drive near the fairgrounds. The work will include a new bridge, sidewalks, curb and gutter work, and a guardrail.

The Christina Avenue bridge was built in 1932 and has a sufficiency rating of 46.9 percent. The Memorial Parkway bridge had a sufficiency rating of 33.8 percent in 2014. The bridge was built in 1974.

Once the Memorial bridge and the Christina Avenue span are replaced, the city will have zero insufficient bridges, Zimmermann said.