The city of Washington will continue to explore saving a pier on the south end of the bridge adjacent to the riverfront trail.

Members of the Missouri Highway 47 Bridge Committee and the Washington Historic Preservation Commission (WHPC) met Tuesday morning to discuss possibilities for reusing the span or pieces of the current bridge that is scheduled to be replaced.

The idea, which also included benches and landscaping, was brought up by an engineer during the design phase for the new bridge.

Steve Strubberg of Horn Architect, who also is on the WHPC, presented a sketch of what the pier could look like if it were preserved. Strubberg, who told the committee that Horn Architect did gratis work for the firm that presented the original sketch, said the pier is north of the railroad tracks and south of the trail.

He was unsure if there would be anything that might prevent the pier from being saved.

The pier is an estimated half-mile down the trail, committee members said.

Positives to Saving

Strubberg said the pier would be an economical solution to maintenance, because it wouldn’t require the maintenance that a steel structure would.

Though some of the trail foliage has grown up blocking the view, Strubberg said the view is great and the pier is a “unique” art deco design.

The fact that the pier is already in place also was noted as a plus, as well as that could reduce demolition costs.

Strubberg also suggested using the pier as part of the “trail education process,” with the history of the bridge.

Nancy Wood, WHPC member, expressed concern about access to the pier.

Others said that while accessibility would be an issue, the pier could be a destination on senior trail day for those unable to walk to the pier.

Other Ideas

Discussion centered on saving the pier, but other ideas also were raised.

Tim Jones, a member of the historic preservation commission, brought up the possibility of putting a piece of the bridge over St. John’s Creek to St. John’s Island, which is in close proximity to the parks system and to downtown.

“When we lost that bridge, we lost a lot of potential for things that could be developed on that island if the city was able to acquire some of that land and maybe add it to the parks system,” Jones said.

Rick Hopp, who also is on the commission, said he didn’t think the property owners would be in favor of the proposal and that the owners farm that land.

Hopp asked if the bridge had to be removed.

Zick said the maintenance would be too much for the city and would be a liability.

Others suggested keeping the entrance of the bridge for reuse, but didn’t have ideas for reuse because of the size of the bridge.

Zick said that the beauty of the bridge is in its overall shape.

Others agreed that saving a single piece wouldn’t preserve the beauty of the bridge.

“No piece will look like anything without the rest (of the bridge),” said Bryan Bogue, WHPC member.

Next Steps

Members of the parks department will begin clearing brush and study the feasibility of saving the south pier before the January bridge committee meeting.

Darren Lamb, city economic development director, said the cost of saving any piece of the bridge would fall on the city or county and that MoDOT would not pay for movement or reconstruction.

The city must tell MoDOT its plans on saving any piece of the bridge by June 2014.