COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council approved a complete reconstruction of the Old Route K Bridge, located over Hinkson Creek, on Monday.
Old Route K is the street located next to the Reactor Field parking lot, and the bridge lies just inside an arc of trees at the beginning of the road. The bridge was built in 1934, and city officials have deemed it substandard, according to Public Works information officer Jill Stedem.
The bridge has definitely eroded: the pavement at both ends of the bridge contains potholes, the concrete that connects the guardrails to the bridge has disintegrated to a point that the metal rods in the concrete are showing through and the rails themselves are covered with spots of rust.
Old Route K is listed as a major connector street with enough traffic to warrant rebuilding the bridge. Bike and foot traffic are also common over the bridge. Ryan Wills was biking across the bridge on Saturday and said that he uses the bridge at least twice a week. Scott Fitzgibbons walked across the bridge after Wills and didn’t seem at ease with his passage.
“It doesn’t look like the safest place to walk,” he said.
The Public Works Department will start taking bids for the project this fall, Stedem wrote in an e-mail. Plans call for a surface wide enough to support two lanes of traffic, sidewalks on both sides and the addition of storm drain inlets and pipes. Underneath the bridge, a trail will connect city and MU trail networks.
The estimated cost of the project is $1.8 million; $1.43 million has already been appropriated, according to the report written by Public Works director John Glascock, which was presented to the City Council. Of that, $225,000 will come from the city’s capital improvements sales tax and $900,000 from the Federal On-System Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program. Another $300,000 will come from the city’s federal grant for projects that promote biking and walking.
The city also is working to acquire easements from MU and another property owner.