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Posted on: September 24, 2021

City solicits bids for rehabilitation of iconic 119-year-old Jefferson Avenue Footbridge


DJI_0828webShuttered to the public for more than five years for safety concerns, north Springfield’s historic Jefferson Avenue Footbridge will soon be given another chance at life.

The City of Springfield recently received authorization from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to solicit bids from qualified contractors for the rehabilitation of the 119-year-old cantilever truss bridge. Bids will be accepted through 10:30 a.m., Oct. 19, 2021. 

Built in 1902, the 562-foot-long steel bridge allows pedestrians to cross 13 tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail yard between Chase Street and Commercial Street. 

The Jefferson Avenue Footbridge was the first of its kind to be built in Missouri and is unique in engineering and historic significance. The footbridge was built at public expense by The American Bridge Company of Pennsylvania. Its innovative multi-arched cantilever design made it possible for workers to construct the bridge by spanning out over the railroad tracks, thereby minimizing impacts to the rail lines below. The bridge also represents the history of two cities coming together – North and South – and the community’s connection to the railroad and the commercial growth opportunities it provided. 

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge continues as a symbol of growth and opportunity today. Prior to its closure, the bridge served as a vital pedestrian and bicycle connection, linking the booming Commercial Street Historic District to the Woodland Heights Neighborhood and helping to spur growth of the Moon City Creative District across the tracks to the north.

On March 1, 2016, the footbridge was closed 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. Results uncovered deficiencies in more than one third of the primary structural members and required the continued closure of the bridge until extensive repairs could be made. 

The solicited construction project will involve the complete rehabilitation of the existing 25,066-pound steel bridge structure, involving 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. Two elevators will be installed on the north and south approaches to bring the bridge into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide equitable access to all.

The City has budgeted $3.2 million for construction and related engineering services. Eighty percent of the cost will come from Surface Transportation Block Grants (STBG) with a 20% local match divided among various funding sources, including the1/4-cent Capital Improvement and 1/8-cent Transportation sales taxes. The match also relies on $50,000 raised by the Commercial Club of Springfield. The group continues to accept donations toward the project and ongoing maintenance through the “Jefferson Avenue Footbridge Fund” administered through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.  

An optional pre-bid conference meeting will be hosted for interested contractors at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 5 in the Busch Municipal Building second floor West Conference room with an option for contractors outside the area to connect via zoom.

For full details, view the Notice to Contractors. Learn more about the effort to rehabilitate Springfield’s Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, visit

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For more information, contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected] 

Learn more about the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge.
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