Removal of the old Highway 47 bridge has been put on hold due to the rising Missouri River.
The removal was scheduled to be finished by Sept. 5, but is running 30 days behind.
Judy Wagner, Missouri Department of Transportation area engineer, told members of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee Tuesday that the river level needs to be less than 20 feet high in order to continue removing leftover parts of the bridge.
As of Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service website indicated the Missouri River level near Washington was at 27.5 feet. NWS predictions expect the river to crest at 29.5 feet June 1 and not to drop below 20 feet until after June 8.
Marschel Wrecking, LLC, Fenton, demolished the bridge April 11 and is in charge of the removal. For all the days that the river level remains above 20 feet, they can’t work. They will be awarded extra days on the back of the contract. They are not paid for the days they don’t work.
Wagner said the railroad trestle removal is also put on hold due to the water level. Union Pacific Railroad needs to be notified two weeks prior in order to remove the trestle of the bridge. That process will have to be started again.
Since the removal of the bridge is on hold, so is the completion of walking paths underneath the new bridge.
Work on the new bridge continues, including aesthetic lighting placement and the outside barrier wall is being painted gray.
Alberici Constructors Inc, is the general contractor for the new bridge.
Bill Straatmann, chairman of the transportation committee, brought up the new bike path on Highway 47 possibly needing a guard or barrier at some point in the future.
“We need to continue looking at that. As soon as (the path) opens up, I’m thinking a lot of people will use the pedestrian walkway and they’ll be right next to the highway,” Straatmann said.
He added he doesn’t want this to become a problem later when it could be solved while work is being done on the bridge now.
Once the wrecking crew clears the bridge site, there is more to be done, according to Wagner.
The eastern portion of the Rotary Riverfront Trail must be rebuilt before opening. 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 of Washington will evaluate the existing condition of the trail before giving a specific end date on reopening it.