If Missouri is awarded a $20 million federal grant for a new Missouri River bridge at Washington, a portion would go to offset a funding shortfall for enhancements to the new span.
Bob Zick, chairman of the Highway 47 Bridge Committee, said Monday that the committee has obtained letters of support from area officials that will be submitted with the application for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.
The deadline to file the grant application with the U.S. Department of Transportation is April 28.
Zick said the “good news” is that MoDOT officials have agreed to allocate 5 percent of the grant, if approved, for bridge enhancements, which would include a decorative railing separating the bike/walking path from the bridge deck, pier lighting, low-level lighting along the walking trail, and girder lighting on both sides of the bridge.
The cost of all the enhancements is close to $1.7 million.
MoDOT has approximately $800,000 in a fund to pay for enhancements. The money was contributed by Washington ($500,000), Franklin County ($250,000) and Warren County ($50,000).
“We have enough for the railing, trail lighting and pier lighting, but not enough to do the girder lighting,” Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said during Monday’s meeting of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee.
The 5 percent of the TIGER grant would cover the cost of the girder lighting. At an estimate of $1.1 million, it is the most expensive of the enhancements proposed.
Zick said his committee plans to contact U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt and urge them to help push for the TIGER grant to help fund the new bridge.
The U.S. Department of Transportation plans to award a total of $600 million in the grants to states for infrastructure improvements. The maximum amount for a single grant is $20 million.
Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region.
MoDOT twice applied for a TIGER grant for the bridge in each of the last two years but the project was not chosen.
Wagner said the design plan for the bridge will include alternates that could allow the girder lighting to be added at a later date if the federal grant is not approved.
During Monday’s meeting, Wagner unveiled the design for the decorative railing that will be installed to separate the walking/biking path from the bridge deck.
Committee members seemed impressed with the design which “replicates” the Gothic arch design of the proposed bridge piers.
“This is as unique as you can get,” Wagner said of the railing design. “I’ve never seen anything like this on a bridge.”
She said the design was chosen from 50 proposals.
Along the trail, a 21-inch high railing will run on top of a 27-inch high concrete barrier. At the south end of the bridge, the railing likely will be 10 feet high where the bridge spans the railroad tracks, Wagner explained. The overlook that will be near the center of the bridge will feature a 36-inch high rail on top of a 1-foot concrete barrier.
Wagner said the final bridge design will include a 12-by-42-foot overlook that is longer but not as wide as the preliminary design. That will allow for more people to use the overlook to view the river and Washington skyline.
HDR Engineering Inc. is designing the variable arch girder bridge which will feature two 12-foot-wide driving lanes with two 10-foot-wide shoulders in addition to the separate 10-foot-wide walking/biking trail on the west side of the bridge.
The total cost is estimated at $60 million, including construction and engineering and design expenses.
The structure is slated to be built in 2017 and opened in 2018, according to the tentative timetable. It will be built immediately to the west of the current span which is about 78 years old.
Funds for the new bridge, which will have a design life of 100 years, are allocated in the 2014-17 Transportation Improvement Program recently approved by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
The project also is in the State Transportation Improvement Program approved last year by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.