Keeping in mind the cost constraints for the new Highway 47 bridge, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is working to finalize the design for railing posts and trail lights.
Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said the final post spacing will be between 8 and 12 feet, as opposed to 8 feet in the original estimate. Lights will be centered between the posts on the trail.
Fewer posts and lights will reduce the cost, Wagner said, but she wasn’t sure how much the cost savings would be.
Enhancements on the bridge, which were estimated at $1,990,000, include decorative railing and girder lighting on the east and west barriers, pier lighting and lighting on the full length of the trail.
A total of $800,000 is already secured for enhancements — $500,000 from Washington, $250,000 from Franklin County and $50,000 from Warren County.
The funding shortfall, not including the adjusted price once the new design is complete, is $1,190,000.
City officials continue to work toward securing additional funding. Missouri Highway 47 Bridge committee members discussed the funding Thursday morning.
If Missouri gets approval for a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant for $20 million, 5 percent could go toward enhancements.
Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt visited Washington May 17. Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy and several city officials had the opportunity to talk to him about transportation, specifically, the bridge.
“He really put a positive spin on the TIGER grant,” said Mike Marquart, committee member, adding that he is still somewhat doubtful about the grant because of past experiences. The state has applied for the TIGER grant for the past two years and has not been delegated any funds.
“We’ll just wait and see,” he said.
Grant, Loan Applications
The city has finalized and submitted the application for the Missouri Department of Transportation Finance Corporation loan.
The $1.5 million loan would cover the cost of all enhancements. If the loan is secured, the city could still apply for grants that could be used to pay down the debt.
“If the TIGER grant doesn’t come through, that is our backup plan in terms of how to finance the improvements,” said Bob Zick, committee chairman.
That loan would be for 10 years with a locked interest rate of 2.35 percent. The entire amount doesn’t have to be drawn, he noted.
Zick noted that the loan doesn’t have to be drawn until June 2016.
Zick said he was “very pleased” that the city council was receptive to helping the committee.
“There was some push back and concern as to whether that was the appropriate use of money vis-a-vis other projects that they have of a transportation nature, but I think the council ended up agreeing as a whole that the enhancements to the bridge were something we spent a long time designing and really indeed were going to make the bridge look nice,” he said.
The city is still working toward applying for a TAP (Transportation Alternative Program) grant. The grant could contribute as much as $250,000 toward the project, primarily on the bike trail.
The application is due at the end of July. If secured, the grant would reduce the amount the city would borrow on the finance corporation loan.