Bidding and labor issues halt restoration of Jefferson Avenue footbridge

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- During a Springfield City Council lunch meeting Tuesday, council members were provided an update on the restoration process of the 119-year-old Jefferson Avenue footbridge project.

City leaders talked about bid results from contractors after the bidding process opened in late October. There was a good amount of interest from local contractors, but only two offered official bids.

Martin Gugel with the Department of Public Works says it could not accept either bid because of budget reasons. Both bids were roughly around $5 to $6 million, and the federal and local funding for the project is $3.2 million.

Gugel also mentioned that area contractors are booked, the labor shortage impact is causing issues, and the costs of materials needed for the project are increasing.

Watch the full council lunch meeting below:

“As you’re all aware of labor shortages and scheduling conflicts with work like this makes it more difficult,” said Gugel.

Options now:

  • Wait and rebid the project with a higher budget estimate
  • Look for more funding
  • Adjust bid package
  • Wait for a more favorable bidding environment

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said this news on the project is discouraging.

“We’ve been pushing for this to get to this point, and I was hopeful that our bids wouldn’t be double, but. I’m not terribly optimistic of the bidding environment. I understand the risk contractors would feel with rail cars running right underneath them,” said McClure.

Previous goals of the project:

  • Completed rehabilitate the bridge and retain the historical significance
  • Comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards – by adding elevators or stairs – depending on budget

History of the footbridge:

The footbridge was built in 1902, and the bridge was the first of its kind to be built in Missouri.

In 2016, the bridge was closed down due to safety concerns after Public Works discovered corrosion and steel loss during a routine inspection. The City hired Springfield-based Great River Engineering (GRE) to conduct an in-depth structural evaluation of the bridge. The evaluation uncovered deficiencies in more than one-third of the primary structural members and required the bridge to remain closed until repairs could be made.

The construction project will involve the complete rehabilitation of the4 existing 25,066-pound steel bridge structure, the repair and replacement of existing deficient structural members, removal and replacement of wood decking, replacement of stairs, application of a new paint system, and installation of lighting.

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