Bridge Rendering

A shortfall of funds for proposed enhancements to a new Missouri River bridge was the main discussion at the Missouri Highway 47 Bridge Committee meeting Thursday morning.

The new bridge is projected to cost about $55 million, including engineering and right of way. The new span is scheduled to be built in 2017-18.

A separate committee was formed to plan enhancements for the new bridge, including decorative railing, girder lighting, pier lighting and trail lighting.

The overall preferred enhancement package cost estimate is $1,706,797. A total of $800,000 has already been submitted to the state for enhancements, which leaves a $906,797 shortfall.

Funding must be lined up by September.

“The largest grant source that would help us with $900,000 would be the enhancement fund that East- West Gateway has for local jurisdictions to apply for,” Darren Lamb, community and economic development director, told the committee.

Cities and counties may apply for the federal funds through the annual Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the St. Louis region.

The city previously obtained enhancement grants for the Jefferson Street streetscape project, the riverfront trail, median landscaping along Highway 100, lighting on the current bridge and for renovation of the passenger depot at Front and Elm streets.

“However, the latest solicitation from East-West Gateway is out for projects, but there is not a pocket of money set aside for enhancements on this round of funding,” Lamb said. “That makes it a little bit more difficult.”

Lamb said there is another pocket of money, STP (surface transportation program) funds, that may be able to be used for enhancements.

An East-West Gateway workshop regarding the funds will be held Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Dan Boyce, city engineer, will attend the meeting and ask if a portion of the funds could be used for enhancements.

Boyce said he was surprised that enhancements were not included in the upcoming round of East-West Gateway grants.

Funding categories that are available cover items such as congestion mitigation, safety, environmental mitigation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Enhancement Costs

Estimated enhancement costs are as follows:

Decorative railing, $120,000;

Girder lighting on east and west face, $1,133,000;

Pier lighting, $172,000; and

Trail lighting, $137,000.

An overhead element was included in the original design, but was later removed.

The committee agreed that lighting the east side of the bridge wasn’t as important, but Bob Zick, committee chairman, said the enhancement committee had a strong feeling that both sides should be lit.

Ray Frankenberg, a bridge committee member, suggested eliminating girder and pier lighting.

Frankenberg said the country is concerned about electrical savings and the lighting would be a waste of money for the community. He further said that pier lighting could be confusing for river navigation.

Saving Bridge Pier

The city of Washington will continue to explore preserving a pier on the south end of the bridge adjacent to the riverfront trail as a monument to the existing bridge.

The Washington Historic Preservation Commission (WHPC) was asked for suggestions on saving a portion of the bridge late last year.

Following the November meeting, the Washington Parks Department was to clear brush and study the feasibility of saving the pier.

The parks department and WHPC are set to meet again next Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m., at city hall.

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