After hearing “a lot of feedback,” the special committee on adding enhancements to the new Missouri River bridge “listened” and removed the controversial overhead arch from the design, the committee chairman told city council members Monday night.
“We’re OK with the change,” Bob Zick, chairman, said.
The decision to eliminate any overhead elements from the enhancement plan came last week at the final meeting of the bridge enhancement committee.
Zick said Monday that the enhancement plan must be presented to MoDOT by next week in order to keep the project on schedule for final engineering and design work.
“We didn’t want to proceed without officially informing the council,” Zick remarked, noting that the city allocated $500,000 of the $800,000 in local funds for enhancements.
The council did not take a vote, but there were no objections to the enhancement plan as approved.
Zick noted that the committee set three priority enhancements — a decorative railing separating the bike/walking path from the bridge deck, pier lighting and low-level lighting along the full length of the walking trail.
The cost of those amenities would fall within the $800,000 available.
If the city is successful in obtaining a federal grant, the committee proposes to add girder lighting on both sides of the new span. That would bring the total cost of enhancements to about $1.72 million.
“We would need about $928,000” to add the girder lighting, Zick noted. He said that is similar to the amount Darren Lamb, community and economic development director, feels would be available from federal funds through the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
“If we don’t get additional funding, we won’t do the girder lighting,” Zick said. “Personally, I think it (girder lighting) would set the bridge off and make it unique in the state and around the country.”
He said the committee would like to be able to add girder lights on both the east and west sides, but if only half the money is available, the lighting should be done on the west side which faces the downtown area and riverfront park.
Councilman Joe Holtmeier thanked Zick and said the committee did “a great job” with developing the enhancement list.
In addition to the city’s allocation, Franklin County agreed to put up $250,000 and Warren County raised another $50,000 for the bridge enhancements.
HDR Engineering Inc. is designing the new bridge. The total cost is estimated at $60 million, including construction and engineering and design expenses.
Funding for the actual structure, slated to be built in 2017 and opened in 2018, is included in the 2014-17 Transportation Improvement Program recently approved by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
It also is in the State Transportation Improvement Program approved last year by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.