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Bidding is underway for the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge project.
SBJ File
Bidding is underway for the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge project.

City solicits bids for Jefferson Avenue Footbridge rehab

Posted online

Last updated 2:14 p.m. [Editor's note: A comment from the city spokesperson on the plaza and elevator work has been added.]

Closed for the past eight years due to safety concerns, the north-side Jefferson Avenue Footbridge is expected to undergo rehabilitation work later this year.

The city of Springfield is soliciting bids for the rehab project of the 122-year-old cantilever truss bridge, according to a news release. The project calls for the complete rehabilitation of the steel bridge, including the repair and replacement of existing deficient structural members, removal and replacement of wood decking, replacement of stairs, application of a new paint system and installation of lighting. Also, the release indicated two elevators need to be installed on the north and south approaches to bring the bridge into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Bids will be accepted through 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 9. Bidding information is available at the city’s website.

In June 2023, $8 million from the state’s fiscal 2024 budget was appropriated for the footbridge repair work. Springfield City Council approved the funds in November. An additional $300,000 in the estimated repair cost will be paid by the city’s quarter-cent capital improvement and eighth-cent transportation sales taxes, and funds have already been budgeted, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

“We would like to thank Gov. Mike Parson, Sen. Lincoln Hough and our state legislative delegation for approving the funding that is allowing this project to move forward,” Public Works Director Dan Smith said in the release.

It’s the second time in three years the city has sought to rehab the building. After a public engagement and planning process involving multiple local, state and national agencies, the city first solicited project bids in 2021. Due to a variety of industry factors, bid results were more than double the cost of the city’s roughly $3 million engineering estimate and approved budget at the time, according to past reporting.

Built in 1902, the 562-foot bridge allows pedestrians to cross 13 tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail yard between Commercial and Chase streets. It was closed in 2016 after Public Works discovered corrosion and steel loss during a routine inspection.

“Since the approval of the project agreement in the fall, Public Works has been reaching back out to the BNSF railroad, (Missouri Department of Transportation) and other agencies to update all bid documents and prepare to bid the project as quickly as possible,” said Nicholas Edelman, city project manager, in the release. “We are excited to be moving forward once again and hopeful that qualified contractors will come forward to be a part of a new chapter in history for the bridge.”

The $8 million budget is designated specifically for rehabilitation of the historic bridge and cannot be used for improvements to the Footbridge Plaza space or other infrastructure, according to the release. City spokesperson Cora Scott said the elevators are part of the budgeted work, but not the plaza, noting improvements to the landing area around the footbridge are still in discussion. Upon the selection of a qualified contractor, the city is hopeful the project will be under construction by year’s end.

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