There are no trusses in the new “sleek design” of the Highway 47 bridge, but the bridge is not “boring,” said Judy Wagner, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) area engineer.
“There are a lot of cool features on this structure,” Wagner said. “It is not the same Warren truss bridge that we had built.”
That was Wagner’s response to a question posed at the Washington Area Highway and Transportation Committee meeting Monday by Bill Miller, Sr., committee member.
“What is MoDOT’s answer to people who say the bridge is boring?” he asked.
“For the money we had for this project, it is an absolutely phenomenal bridge without adding $100 million to make it look prettier in their eyes,” Wagner stated. “But this is the new sleek modern design that we’re using and it is one of the most economical.”
A Warren truss is a structural feature utilizing equilateral triangles, instead of isosceles triangles, to better spread out the load of a bridge.
She explained that the lighting contractor will soon be on site. There is no exact date, but the bridge is expected to be fully illuminated this summer.
Wagner further explained that there were $2 million in aesthetics included in the bridge.
Underneath the structure will be pier and girder lights to add to the bridge design.
The lighting on the bridge deck will be inside the barrier wall on the west side of the bridge to illuminate the pedestrian walkway.
“The railings and the piers look really cool,” Wagner said. “I love the Gothic (architecture).”
Also this summer, the pedestrian walkway and trails leading to the bridge are slated to open.
“I think once people get out on the trails, once that all opens, they will be able to see a lot more of that,” Wagner commented.
“The lighting will help, I think,” Miller added.
A group comprised of young and older citizens served on the Washington Bridge Enhancement Committee. The committee was tasked with making selections of possible enhancements, then prioritizing those elements.
“Both generations, the new millennial generation and the older generation that was used to the worn truss, were trying to come to a consensus between what the new one should look like and what was in budget,” Wagner said. “That was tying us down to more of a steel girder structure over the main channel.”
In 2013, the committee was presented with options on the pier and lighting design. The committee selected the “Gothic” pier design, which features a pointed arch cut out of the center, with raised panels on each side.
The raised panels are similar in shape to the Washington monument in Washington, D.C., and “fit Washington,” the committee said at that time.
The committee also was instrumental in overseeing lighting plans.
Aesthetic lighting, like the girder and pier lighting, is intended to enhance the forms of the structure or provide a visual nighttime experience. It can be used above or below the deck to illuminate components of the bridge.
On the new bridge, linear LED lights will be mounted along the underside of the girders close to the pier cap. It will light the face of the pier cap while setting the raised panel in shadow.
The lights will be brighter in the center and dim as they reach outward to “highlight” the shape of the girders and piers.