The Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River will be “unique and authentic” in its design.
That’s according to Missouri Department of Transportation Area Engineer Judy Wagner, who told the Washington Highway Transportation Committee Monday that “from the Gothic piers to the protrusions,” there are several characteristics that set the bridge apart.
“That is what you wanted when we started the design,” Wagner added.
A transportation committee member, Bill Miller Sr., described the design as “one of a kind.”
The bridge is scheduled to be completed in December 2018. The total cost of the project is $63 million.
According to Wagner, a key attribute that differs from other bridges is the biking and pedestrian path on the west side of the bridge. The path is 10 feet wide, compared to most bridge pedestrian paths that are 8 feet wide.
Along the path is a vista, an overlook where walkers and bikers can stop and view the river and cityscape; it will be located at the center bridge pier.
Wagner described it as a “destination” for walkers to take in the view.
The new bridge path will connect to a biking/walking path along Highway 47, north of the river, which ties into the state’s Katy Trail, one of the longest continuous bicycle trails in the United States.
Wagner added that pedestrians who walk from one side of the bridge to the overlook and back would have walked about one-half mile.
Her comments sparked a discussion on a bridge name. She stated many bridges in the area have names other than the highways and routes they are on, including the Blanchette Memorial Bridge on Interstate 70 connecting Maryland Heights and St. Charles; the Daniel Boone Bridge on Interstate 64 connecting Chesterfield and Weldon Spring; and the Lewis Bridge on Highway 67 connecting Spanish Lake and West Alton.
She noted that the bridge at Hermann on Highway 19 is named the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.
Wagner tasked members of the transportation committee to develop possible names for the bridge.
When asked, Wagner said there are an average of 50 to 60 workers on the bridge during construction hours.
That number will increase to up to 200 after the bridge deck is poured and carpenters, ironworkers and others will be at the site at the same time.
Crews will continue to work through the winter months before major projects, including pouring the bridge deck, can begin next year.
Wagner noted that scaffolding for the first of six girders is being constructed now, and a crash wall is being erected.
She added that the bridge is earthquake proof for this region and traffic from the current bridge will not cause any vibrations during construction.
Alberici Constructors Inc. crews began work on the project in August 2016 after the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded the contract.
The project involves building a new 2,560-foot-long bridge just to the west — upstream — from the existing span, which was completed in 1936.
The new structure is designed with two 12-foot driving lanes, two 10-foot shoulders and the 10-foot-wide biking/walking path.