The Highway 47 Bridge Enhancement Committee continued to discuss a use for about $800,000 in enhancement funds to be used for the new Missouri River bridge at Washington.

The bridge is slated to be built in 2017-18. Design for the bridge should be complete by the end of 2014.

Kevin Kriete and Cory Imhoff, both with HDR, the engineering firm selected to design the span, as well as Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, and Mike Harms, MoDOT structure 1 liaison engineer, all attended the Tuesday morning meeting This was the second meeting of the enhancement committee.

Committee members discussed absolutes in the bridge design, or attributes that the bridge must have, including the possibility to expand to four lanes in the future and minimization of the “s-curve” on the south side of the bridge.

Members also agreed that the bridge must be unique to Washington, have its own identity, match the architecture of Downtown Washington and be accessible to pedestrians and bikers.

Committee members also discussed whether the new bridge would retain the appearance of the old bridge.

“I really love our bridge, but I always thought the new bridge would look different,” said Mayor Sandy Lucy.

Others agreed, adding that some aspects of the old bridge could be incorporated into the new bridge design.

“Washington is historic, but it’s progressive at the same time,” said Bob Zick, committee chairman.

The possible use of weathering steel, or Cor-Ten steel was discussed. The option, which is a rust brown color, would eliminate the need for painting and blend in with areas that can’t be painted.

Imhoff noted that painting a structure as big as the bridge would be very costly.

General architectural aspects were the main discussion, including the view of the bridge face on, from the riverfront and even the view for boaters and those using the river.

Other elements discussed include railing, sidewalk paving and fencing.

Because only navigational lighting is included in the MoDOT estimate, any decorative, or “aesthetic lighting” is considered an enhancement.

Aesthetic lighting is intended to enhance the forms of the structure or provide a visual nighttime experience. It can be used above or below the deck to illuminate components of the bridge, Kriete noted.

The lighting is typically not functional. The committee also has discussed reusing the lights already on the bridge, whether actually in the new bridge design or elsewhere in the city. Members also agreed that they do not prefer a colored lighting option.

It was pointed out that lighting can be added later. Existing lighting at the bridge was added decades after the bridge was built.

If lighting were added in the future, additional enhancement grants may be available.

HDR will continue developing several bridge designs. Pictures with various designs will be presented at the next meeting so members can better visualize the options and how they might look in Washington.

Committee members also requested information on pricing to help make their decisions.

Discussion continued on whether parts of the old bridge could be reused in a park or other areas of the city. Downtown Washington Inc. also is talking about ways to use parts of the bridge in the downtown area as a historic attraction.

The bridge will be about 50 to 65 feet offset from the current bridge, depending on the bridge design.

No final decisions were made during the meeting.

Grant Possibilities

The city also can apply for federal enhancement grant funds through the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, which considers eligible projects for funding through its annual Transportation Improvement Program.

Officials were going to research the possibility of applying for grants for additional enhancements through the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission since part of the bridge is located in Warren County.

Project Schedule

According to a schedule provided by HDR, the bridge memo and layout of surroundings should be complete by May 1, 2013. Preliminary design is expected to be complete by July 31. Final enhancement decisions are required by the time the preliminary design is finished.

Right of way design must be complete by Dec. 31, 2013.

By Dec. 31, 2014, 100 percent unsigned and unsealed plans must be complete. Final submittal will be about June 12, 2016.

Next Meeting

Architects Fred Goettemoeller, with Bridgescapes, and Faith Baum, illumination arts, will visit Washington Thursday, March 7. The committee will meet at 1 p.m. at Mercy Hospital Washington.

The committee will meet again Tuesday, March 26, at 8:30 a.m. at Mercy Hospital, following the 7:45 a.m. bridge committee meeting at city hall.