Washington City Council members had few comments this week after viewing design plans for a new bridge over the Missouri River.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to begin construction of the new span in the next few years.
Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer for Franklin County, presented engineering drawings of the proposed new bridge design to the council Monday night, along with a proposed timetable that calls for opening bids in the fall of 2016 and beginning construction in 2017.
The new bridge will be open to traffic in the fall of 2018 and completion of the project, including demolition of the old bridge, in 2019.
The new bridge will be a variable depth girder superstructure, which means the side girders, as seen from a distance, would range from 18 feet deep at the piers to 10 feet at the midpoint between piers.
The bridge will have two 12-foot lanes, two 10-foot shoulders and a 10-foot-wide bike path along the west side. A 16-foot overlook, where walkers and bikers can stop and view the river and cityscape, is proposed at the center pier of the bridge.
This is the most economical design for the bridge, Wagner noted.
However, it is proposed to be enhanced with lighting and other elements through contributions from the city and Franklin and Warren counties, which have put up a total of more than $800,000, Wagner noted.
A local enhancement committee has developed a set of proposed enhancements priorities that include decorative railings and lighting along the bike path, girder and pier lighting and an overhead arch structure at the point where the overlook will be located.
The 16-foot overlook on the west side is considered part of the structure and is included in the cost of the bridge.
The total estimated cost for enhancements with girder lighting on the west side of the bridge only is over $1.3 million. With girder lighting on the east side, the cost rises to $1.9 million, Wagner said.
The city is looking at the possibility of seeking a federal grant to make up the difference between the total costs and contributions from the city and counties.
MoDOT is still accepting public comments on enhancements before a final decision is made.
“We need a commitment on the enhancements by Aug. 16 so we can do the final design,” Wagner told the council.
The bridge project, projected to cost about $55 million, including engineering and right of way, has received preliminary funding approval from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
Drawings of the proposed bridge and information about the enhancements can be viewed at city hall, on the MoDOT and city websites and on emissourian.com.