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2017 City News Releases

Posted on: January 31, 2017

City Council presented with Jefferson Avenue Footbridge options


City Council presented with Jefferson Avenue Footbridge options


City Council evaluated potential options for rehabilitating the 115-year-old Jefferson Avenue Footbridge at a City Council workshop Tuesday evening, held at the Savoy Ballroom on historic Commercial Street.  Council members gave the go ahead to spend approximately $200,000 for the structural design phase of the preservation. Limited bridge funds are available through the 1/8-cent transportation sales tax.  

Council members further directed staff to create a thorough funding proposal that includes construction and ongoing maintenance costs to keep the bridge preserved. Public and private funds will be needed. 

Spencer Jones, an engineer with Great River Engineering, presented six different options ranging from “doing nothing” to a “full replacement”.  Doing nothing would still cost $410,000 because it would need to be demolished. Preserving the bridge would entail a full rehabilitation in 2017 and repeated rehab every 24 years. The estimated initial cost would be $2.8 million. 

The 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.  

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. Details regarding all options presented are included in an executive summary. 


 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. 


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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].


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