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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE If Springfield’s Historic Jefferson Avenue Footbridge shared human characteristics, “bridge doctor” Spencer Jones would describe its condition as critical. Jones is an engineer with Great River Engineering, a firm hired by Springfield Public Works to do a safety analysis. City Council heard Jones’ report at a City Council workshop Wednesday evening, held at the Savoy Ballroom on historic Commercial Street. The 114-year-old pedestrian bridge was closed March 1 after Public Works inspectors found corrosion and steel loss in the north support column. While the bridge was not in imminent danger, it was deemed in the public’s best interest to close the bridge to conduct a full evaluation and determine repair options. Jones, who has consulted on bridge construction, repair and rehabilitation on some of the region’s most notable bridges, conducted a structural evaluation on the local footbridge that included: observation/field inspection; qualitative evaluation; quantitative evaluation and rehabilitation recommendations. Jones presented multiple options for City Council to consider. These options would correct deficiencies and meet current design code. The deficiencies identified in the evaluations included: • One of every three primary members (36.4%) do not have adequate capacity and need repaired or strengthened. • Six of the 10 vertical columns in the south approach need to be strengthened. • The stairs on both north and south approaches need to be replaced. ADA accessibility also needs to be incorporated. • The paint system is failing in numerous locations. It is recommended that the existing paint be removed to bare metal and that a three-coat paint system be applied. This approach to the rehabilitation will aid in impeding the corrosion and deterioration of the structure, thereby lengthening the life of the bridge. As with most local governments, the City of Springfield deals with increasing infrastructure needs with limited funding opportunity, explained Public Works Director Dan Smith. Springfield’s team calculated bridge life cycle cost to help understand the true cost of alternatives. The public is invited to ask questions and provide input at an open house scheduled for 4-6 p.m., Nov. 17 at the White River Brewing Company, 505 W. Commercial. About the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge:
The Jefferson Avenue Footbridge was built in 1902 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The 562-foot-long bridge allows pedestrians to cross 13 tracks of the Burlington Northern rail yard from Chase Street to Commercial Street and has done so for 114 years. The footbridge underwent restoration in 2002, in time for its centennial celebration. The City of Springfield partnered with the Commercial Club to obtain federal transportation enhancement grants and Community Development Block Grant funding to conduct the repairs. In addition to the rehabilitation work on the footbridge, a gathering place plaza was created adjacent to the bridge. The rehabilitation work was conducted in 2001 and 2002 at a cost of just over $518,000. ### For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, at 417-380-3352 or [email protected] or Dan Smith, Director of Public Works, at 417-864-1950 or [email protected]