Ceremony to mark start of bridge project

By Ed Pruneau, Record Staff Writer
Posted 11/8/16

History will be made Friday as state and local officials break ground for construction of a new Missouri River bridge between Warren and Franklin counties. Work on the new Highway 47 bridge — among …

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Ceremony to mark start of bridge project


History will be made Friday as state and local officials break ground for construction of a new Missouri River bridge between Warren and Franklin counties.Work on the new Highway 47 bridge — among the largest-ever public works projects in this area ­— is scheduled to begin next Monday, Aug. 15, and will continue for the next two years.The public is invited to participate in Friday’s historic ceremony which will take place at 10 a.m. along the Rotary Riverfront Trail in Washington at the south pier of the existing bridge.Gov. Jay Nixon will attend along with a host of state and local officials representing communities in Warren and Franklin counties.Shuttles will be used to transport people from the parking lot on the east side of Rennick Riverfront Park to the groundbreaking site.People are encouraged to arrive at the lot by 9:30 a.m. in order to get everyone to the site in time for the 10 a.m. event. People also are welcome to walk the short distance to the site.The Washington High School Band will be performing on the parking lot as people arrive at the shuttle site and the Washington High School A Capella Choir will sing the National Anthem at the opening of the ceremony.The Washington American Legion and VFW Post will present the colors and Father Don Glastetter of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish will give the invocation.Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer for Franklin and Jefferson counties, will be the emcee, and MoDOT Chief Financial Officer Roberta Broeker will give the welcoming remarks.Among other officials expected to attend are MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna; Greg Smith, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission; Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer; state Sens. Dave Schatz and Jeannie Riddle; state Reps. Paul Curtman, Justin Alferman and Bart Korman; and Warren County Presiding Commissioner Roger Mauzy.Washington attorney Bob Zick, who chaired the Highway 47 Missouri River Bridge Committee, is among those scheduled to speak at the ceremony.The bridge committee, established by former mayor Washington Mayor Dick Stratman, was instrumental in pushing for financing to build the new bridge. Warren County officials served on the committee.Alberici Constructors Inc. is the general contractor on the bridge project. The firm was awarded a $62,950,000 contract in June.The first work residents will see will be clearing work and development of staging areas, primarily on the Warren County side of the river, followed by drilling work for new piers.The project calls for a new 2,560-foot-long bridge to be built just to the west — upstream — from the existing span. The new structure is designed with two 12-foot driving lanes, two 10-foot shoulders and a 10-foot-wide biking/walking path along the west side. An overlook, where walkers and bikers can stop and view the river and cityscape, is proposed at the center bridge pier.The new bridge path will connect to a biking/walking path along Highway 47, north of the river, which ties into the state’s Katy Trail, one of the longest continuous bicycle trails in the United States.The new bridge, designed by HDR, Inc., will have a 100-year life with limited maintenance and a variety of unique enhancements including variable depth, haunched steel girders and fluted bridge piers with architectural reveals.It is scheduled to be open to traffic by November 2018, followed by demolition of the old bridge and final work items in 2019.Bridge HistoryThe existing bridge, at more than 80 years old, has exceeded its anticipated lifespan.Conceived in the mid-1920s, the city approached the then-State Highway Commission in 1926 about building the bridge across the Missouri. In 1928, Congress authorized the Washington Missouri River Bridge Company to build the new structure and in 1933, authority to build the bridge was transferred to the city.The engineering firm of Sverdrup & Parcel was hired to design the bridge that year.Construction on the bridge began in October 1934 after contracts were awarded to the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company and Stupp Bros. Bridge & Iron Company.The bridge was completed and opened to the public as a toll bridge May 28, 1936.Fifteen years later, on Sept. 29, 1951, the bridge became toll-free after the city transferred the bridge to the state.Missouri Bridge