Soon after the crowds celebrating the new Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River disperse Saturday, striping crews will arrive on the scene to mark the lanes.
Once striping is completed, the bridge will open to motorists, according to Judy Wagner, Missouri Department of Transportation area engineer.
“That is weather dependent,” Wagner told The Missourian. “If it rains Monday then we will shoot for later in the week.”
The same crew scheduled to stripe the Highway 47 bridge will be completing work on the Poplar Street bridge in St. Louis Saturday. They are slated to bring their equipment here Saturday night.
Southbound traffic will be switched to the new bridge first, Wagner explained. Then four to six hours later the northbound traffic will be moved to the new bridge.
The opening deadline is Monday, however, if it rains the general contractor, Alberici Constructors, will be permitted additional time to open the span.
The $63 million new bridge has a 100-year life with limited maintenance and a variety of unique enhancements, including variable depth, haunched steel girders and fluted bridge piers with architectural reveals. An overlook, where walkers and bikers can stop and view the river, is at the center bridge pier.
Some concrete work remains at the approaches to the bridge. Wagner said there is a temporary asphalt patch north of the bridge that will be replaced.
She explained that fill is needed to make even the new portion of Highway 47 with the current roadway.
“The old highway is lower than the new highway,” Wagner noted. “We still need to fill in the embankment to reach the new roadway height.”
Similar work also must be done on the south side, but not to the degree as on the north.
Lighting, above and below the bridge deck, will be installed after the bridge is opened, according to Wagner.
Underneath the structure will be pier and girder lights that add to the bridge aesthetics.
The lighting on the bridge deck will be inside the barrier wall on the west side of the bridge to illuminate the pedestrian walkway.
Wagner added the river gauge will be stenciled on a pier at a later date.
“They (crews) will get rid of the causeways and there is a lot of cleanup underneath the bridge,” she said.
It is unlikely that there will be lane closures during future work, Wagner said, because the new bridge is wider, which would allow for work to continue while motorists continue to use it.
“If they need to work on the shoulders they can without any lane closures,” she commented.
The new structure, designed by HDR, Inc., has two 12-foot driving lanes, two 10-foot shoulders and a 10-foot-wide biking/walking path along the west side.
There will be lane closures while Alberici removes the current bridge.
The biggest remaining piece of the bridge project is the removal of the old bridge.
The overall completion date for the entire project, including the demolition, is Sept. 2, 2019.
Alberici Constructors will own the old bridge after the new structure is completed.
Once the new bridge is opened, crews will work to remove salvageable pieces before the current bridge is imploded into the Missouri River.
Each piece of the old bridge will be tagged and salvage crews will retrieve it from the river as mandated by the Army Corps of Engineers.