Now that the old bridge is down, there are several elements of the new Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River yet to be completed.
This week the demolition crew, Marschel Wrecking LLC, Fenton, has begun removing the two final pieces of the bridge truss, one on the south bank and one on the north, according to Judy Wagner, Missouri Department of Transportation area engineer.
Next, the piers and columns will begin to come down.
Wagner added that as soon as the weather allows crews will re-stripe the roadway where the stripe has worn off, especially in Warren County.
Next the concrete deck from the bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks will begin to be removed, she said.
Then, possibly next week, Marschel will remove the deck truss over the railroad.
The bridge was opened to traffic Dec. 3 and the old bridge was imploded by Marschel April 11.
Alberici Constructors Inc., the general contractor, is required to have the entire bridge project completed by Sept. 5, barring rain or flooding.
“Right now, the water level still is controlling the completion of the project,” Wagner said. “As per the contract, if there are delays (due to flooding or rain) the deadline will be pushed back.”
Also beginning the week of May 6, the lighting contractor will be back on site, Wagner said.
Underneath the structure will be pier and girder lights to add to the bridge aesthetics.
The lighting on the bridge deck will be inside the barrier wall on the west side of the bridge to illuminate the pedestrian walkway.
According to Wagner, street lighting is not required and would only be for aesthetics.
There still is much work to do before the pedestrian path will be open on the bridge, Wagner said. Once all of the old bridge is removed from the north bank, Alberici will begin grading the shared use path.
The 10-foot-wide biking/walking path is along the west side. An overlook, where walkers and bikers can stop and view the river and city, is at the center bridge pier.
However, there still must be a trail constructed on the north side before the bridge pedestrian path is opened.
“(Alberici) doesn’t want to get it open and not go anywhere,” Wagner explained.
She added that bicyclists can use the new bridge as part of MoDOT’s “share the road” initiative, but warned pedestrians to stay off the bridge deck entirely.
“We are telling the cyclists to use the main lane, but for everyone to stay off the pedestrian lane,” Wagner said.
Once the wrecking crew clears the bridge site, there is more to be done, according to Wagner.
That 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. Alberici, Marschel and the city are still in negotiations about the final rock removal and trail restoration, Wagner said.
Alberici also must replace a fishing dike that was removed for the bridge project.