August 27, 2009

MoDOT Meets With City Regarding ‘Broadwater’ Bridge Plans

A Memphis landmark for the past 60-plus years is scheduled for changes in the summer of 2012. Representatives from the Missouri Department of Transportation met with the Memphis City Council on August 20th to discuss the future of the “Broadwater” Bridge, located on Business 136 spanning the old CB&O Railroad line.

MoDOT has identified the structure for repair or replacement under the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement program. It received a structural rating of poor in at least one category according to the engineers.

MoDOT identified 802 bridges for repair or replacement under the Safe & Sound program. Currently 17 bridges are under construction, with 78 completed and 707 awaiting completion.

Rick Domzalski, MoDOT engineer from the Hannibal district office presented a pair of initial options for the project for the city to consider.

He indicated MoDOT would look at removing the bridge and filling in the old railroad underpass. Or the plans could simply leave the bridge deck and railing in place, and filling through it, to remove the nearly 30-feet deep ravine which the bridge spans, in essence, making it no longer necessary for a bridge in that location.

“Basically our plans are for eliminating this bridge as a structure, which also will remove a future maintenance issue,” he said.

With preliminary cost estimates for both projects relatively close, MoDOT met with the city council to determine local preference regarding the two proposals.

Domzalski noted there may be some historical value for the bridge that would outweigh the principal that simply replacing it with a road and sloped bank would ultimately offer better compaction of the constructed fill and less future maintenance.

Alderman Lucas Remely pointed out the bridge does see quite a bit of foot traffic, highlighting the need to maintain the sidewalk crossing regardless of the option chosen for the repairs.

The engineers were also questioned, if the plans called for the construction of the roadway, minus the old bridge deck, if the railings could be salvaged and installed along the roadway to reflect its history.

The council agreed to hear from citizens at the September 3rd city council meeting regarding the future of the bridge.

The “Broadwater” Bridge was built in 1946.

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