It is not likely that the pedestrian walkway on the new Highway 47 bridge will open before construction is completed.
But Washington residents are eager to walk onto the bridge over the Missouri River.
“Is there any chance that if (the project) prolongs ... that MoDOT (Missouri Department of Transportation) might just open the walking trail on this side, just out to the overlook?” asked Mayor Sandy Lucy.
“People would really like to get out there and it could be a long time,” she added, referring to the 10-foot-wide biking/walking path is along the west side of the bridge.
An overlook, where walkers and bikers can stop and view the river and city, is at the center bridge pier.
The question was posed Monday during the Washington Area Highway and Transportation Committee meeting.
According to MoDOT Area Engineer Stephen O’Connor, that decision is made by Alberici Constructors, the general contractor for the bridge project.
“If there is construction on the bridge, they probably will not want walkers out there,” he said.
Councilman Steve Sullentrup stated that in a previous meeting the committee was told that Alberici would not open the pedestrian walkway until other elements of the project, including lighting, have been completed for insurance reasons.
“It would be nice to get out there though,” he commented.
According to O’Connor, Alberici still is expecting to meet the Dec. 3 deadline on completion of the Highway 47 Missouri River bridge project.
In August, the completion date for the Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River was pushed back to exactly one year after its grand opening ceremony due to high river levels and continued rain.
The project deadline had been Sept. 5, but there are contingencies built into the contract between the state and Alberici Constructors that allow for the project deadline to be pushed back.
A grand opening ceremony for the $63 million bridge was held Dec. 1, 2018. Traffic began crossing the span two days later.
O’Connor said work is underway now to “tie in” the shared use paths on the north and south sides of the bridge,
He also stated that the lighting contractor will be working at the site this week.
“They are going to be working on the lighting over several nights this week and they hope to have everything figured out by Saturday night,” he said.
The lighting on the bridge deck will be inside the barrier wall on the west side of the bridge to illuminate the pedestrian walkway.
That eastern portion of the Rotary Riverfront Trail will be rebuilt after crews clear the site. The trail has been closed since September 2016 to provide a construction staging area for the new bridge
A large area was needed for construction workers to assemble steel cages for the piers and for the concrete trucks to move around. There still is construction equipment being stored on the south side of the river.
Alberici laid down rock on the trail in an attempt to minimize trail damage. But, large trucks with heavy material have been driving over it.
The city entered into an agreement with Alberici to acquire the rock used at the construction site for fill at the Washington Regional Airport.
Darren Lamb, city administrator, told transportation committee members that the fill is being located at a site for future hangar expansion at the airport.
“I think it is beneficial for our airport to get the rock and have another place for a hangar in the future,” he said.
Lamb added that it is not known when all of the rock will be hauled to the airport in Warren County.
“Everything is at the mercy of the river right now,” he said.