COLUMBIA — Stephens College will make major repairs to the existing pedestrian bridges that connect the campus' buildings this summer.
The two bridges that cross over College Avenue and East Broadway currently show signs of deterioration in their concrete supports, or abutments, of the steel structures, expansion joints and walking surfaces.
Lindi Overton, vice president of finance and administration at Stephens, said the college's main concern right now is the bridge spans, which have suffered the most damage.
At the recommendation of structural engineers last year, braces were installed on the bridges "to ensure the safety of our students until we were able to replace the spans," Overton said.
The engineers' report also suggested that the college consider extensively repairing or completely replacing the existing structures, which have stood for about 40 years. They were first installed when Stamper Commons, the campus' student services area, was built.
"Hopefully there's technology in place in terms of sealing the bridges," Overton said. "There's a lot of deterioration that has taken place due to salt being placed on the bridges because we get snow."
Project engineer Cody L. Dailey of Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw Inc. said repair and reconstruction of the bridge spans will be completed in three phases from early June to mid-August.
- Phase 1: Demolition — existing bridge spans will be removed and hauled away for rehabilitation and repair.
- Phase 2: Repair — concrete walkways will be removed from existing bridge beams, which will be repainted and restored; deterioration of the abutments will be repaired; and a new concrete walkway will be poured between the existing beams at an off-site location.
- Phase 3: Reconstruction — repaired bridge spans will be hauled back to the site and craned in place.
Dailey said full functionality of the bridges will be restored prior to the start of the fall semester.
During construction, College Avenue and East Broadway will need to be closed for four to six nights for each bridge. Demolition and installation will take about two to three nights each.
The city will require that one bridge remain open while the other is under construction.
Stephens set a budget of $500,000 for the project, but Overton anticipates actual costs will be below that figure. Both the negotiation process with contractors and permitting process with the city and Missouri Department of Transportation are ongoing.
On Monday, the Columbia City Council will meet to consider an ordinance authorizing City Manager Mike Matthes to approve a right of use permit with Stephens to construct and maintain the bridge over East Broadway.
To proceed with construction, the city must approve construction plans as well as a traffic and pedestrian control plan for the bridge over East Broadway, and MoDOT must do the same for the bridge over College Avenue. The control plan will be submitted within the next week.
College Avenue is also known as Missouri Route 763, and state highways are under MoDOT's control.
Architectural features, including a pilaster on either side of each approach, will be added later under a different contract. Improvements will also be made to the approaches then.
A timeline for that project, however, has not been set.
Overton said she hopes "the new technology and building materials will assist us with improving the life of the bridges."
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