Several area parochial schools have agreed to participate along with the Washington School District in the “Pennies for the Bridge” program.

Our Lady of Lourdes School and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School and St. Francis Borgia Grade School, all in Washington, and St. Ignatius School in Concord Hill will hold penny drives.

Mayor Sandy Lucy informed the Missouri Highway 47 Bridge Committee of the participating schools Tuesday morning, May 15.

In April, committee members received permission from the Washington School District to hold penny drives.

During the month of May, participating schools are asking students to give pennies or whatever spare change they can donate toward aesthetics on a new Washington Bridge over the Missouri River.

Bridge committee members hope the fundraisers show how committed the Washington community is to securing funding for construction of a new bridge.

Bob Zick, bridge committee chairman, proposed bringing in a wheelbarrow full of the coins collected to the Missouri Highways and Transportation commissioners’ meeting, which will take place July 11 in Washington.

Bridge in Draft STIP

At that meeting, the commissioners will vote on a final list of projects to be included in the new five-year State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

The 2013-2017 draft STIP has estimated $61,747,000 for a new bridge. That amount includes $3,356,000 for engineering and design, with construction likely taking place in 2016-2017 if funding is secured.

MoDOT officials hope to get word this month on its application for a $20 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant for the new bridge.

If that grant is approved it would accelerate the project, according to Judy Wagner, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) area engineer, but the grant funds must be appropriated by July 2013.

Preliminary Design

Meanwhile, MoDOT is moving forward with seeking proposals from consulting firms to prepare preliminary engineering and design plans for the new bridge, which will be constructed just west, upstream, from the existing bridge.

A contract is expected to be awarded in July. The preliminary design work is expected to cost about $500,000. Requests for proposals on the preliminary design could be let later this month.

Several engineering firms from around the state have been attending the bridge committee meetings and told members they are interested in submitting bids on the design and engineer work.

Kevin Kriete, with HDR Engineering and a former bridge committee member, said with so many interested firms, the bidding will be competitive.