Contract negotiations for the design of a new bridge over the Missouri River at Washington should be completed this week, Bob Zick, chairman of the Missouri Highway 47 Bridge Committee, told committee members Tuesday.

Once the final contract has been submitted and approved, actual work on designing the new bridge will begin.

HDR Engineering, Inc. was selected by MoDOT as the engineering firm in charge of the designing the bridge estimated to cost $55 million.

“We will work with MoDOT to ensure the bridge includes some design characteristics that match the historical nature of the bridge,” Zick said. “I think it will be a challenge, but we have asked the engineers to work on that.”

A design kickoff meeting is expected to be held in mid- to late October.

The new bridge, which will be constructed just west of the current bridge, is slated to have two 12-foot-wide driving lanes, wide shoulders and a protected biking/walking path.

Construction of a new bridge was approved in a five-year State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). The new STIP calls for construction of the new bridge to begin in 2017.

Zick also updated the committee on the newly formed enhancement committee, which has not met yet.

The committee will work with MoDOT and make recommendations on bridge enhancements.

Members of the committee include Zick, Darren Lamb, the city’s community and economic development director, Mayor Sandy Lucy, Missouri Hospital Administrator Terry McLain, Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer, Warren County Presiding Commissioner Arden Engelage and Bryan Bogue, representing the Washington Historic Preservation Commission.

Under a cost participation agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDot), Washington, as well as Franklin and Warren counties, will contribute $800,000 toward enhancements for the new bridge.

The city and counties are required to deposit their contribution with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission by Dec. 31, 2012. That money will be invested by the commission.

The money, plus interest earned, will be reimbursed to the city and counties if a construction contract for a new bridge is not awarded by Dec. 31, 2018, the agreement states, “unless the parties agree in writing to extend this deadline because of good faith efforts being made by the commission.”