Hwy 47 Missouri River Bridge at Washington moving forward--will connect Washington to Katy Trail

Efforts to replace the aging Hwy 47 Missouri River Bridge near Washington, Missouri, are moving forward.  The bridge is one of the oldest Missouri River bridges remaining in Missouri.  It provides a key connection between the city of Washington and the Katy Trail--and right now the narrow, two lane bridge is very daunting for Katy Trail users to cross.

Washington Bridge photo courtesy Wikipedia; photo by Wikipedia users Americasroof. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Washington Bridge photo courtesy Wikipedia; photo by Wikipedia users Americasroof. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

The new bridge is envisioned to include a bicycle/pedestrian lane similar to those found on newer bridges like the Page Avenue bridge near St. Charles, the Hermann bridge, and the Jefferson City bridge--all of which now allow easy and safe connections between the Katy Trail and the nearby city.

A local committee has been doing initial work to determine the parameters and locate funding for the new bridge.  The bridge has been identified by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments (which covers the entire St. Louis metro area) as one of its top priorities over the next eight years and MoDOT has also identified the bridge as one of its top priorities for replacement.

MoDOT has recently found funding and signed an agreement for preliminary engineering work to start designing the new bridge. MoDOT is now planning to work with local jurisdictions to apply for a $20 million TIGER grant, which would cover about 1/3 of the cost of the bridge replacement.

This bridge will join several bridges across Missouri that have recently become safer and more inviting for bicycling and walking.
This bridge will join several bridges across Missouri that have recently become safer and more inviting for bicycling and walking.

Like many similar major projects across Missouri and across the nation, funding for the bridge generally comes from federal transportation funding--typically 80%--with the the remaining amounts (about 20%) coming from MoDOT and local governments.  With the federal transportation bill now years delayed and federal transportation funding potentially undergoing fundamental changes as Congress debates its future, and with MoDOT undergoing a financial crisis and restructuring of its own, the agency has not yet been able to identify specific funding beyond that $500,000 needed for the preliminary engineering study.

The bridge is the second oldest remaining over the Missouri River in Missouri--second only to the older span of the Boone Bridge, which is also scheduled for replacement and which also will include a new bicycle/pedestrian path.

Creating these bicycle and pedestrian connections across major barriers has been one of the top priorities for the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation over the past several years.  Creating better connections between the Katy Trail and the adjoining communities (many of which lie on the opposite side of the Missouri River from the trail) was identified in our Vision of Bicycling and Walking in Missouri as a major goal.  The Highway 47 bridge connection was identified as one of the projects on our High Priority Bicycle/Pedestrian/ADA Project list.  

 

Photo credits: Washington Bridge photo courtesy Wikipedia; photo by Wikipedia users Americasroof. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Heart of America bike/ped path photo by MoBikeFed.