Bridge work to take place concurrently with Green Park Road project

Proposal calls for widening Green Park Road bridge over Gravois Creek

By BURKE WASSON

A project to widen the Green Park Road bridge over Gravois Creek is expected to take place concurrently with the second phase of reconstruction to Green Park Road.

Randy Griffin of the Weis Design Group last week told the Green Park Board of Aldermen that construction to both Green Park Road and the bridge are planned to take place at the same time.

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments has informed city officials that they have until September to finalize plans for the first phase of Green Park Road’s redevelopment or otherwise lose federal funding for the road’s reconstruction. East-West Gateway in 2003 approved a federal grant funding 80 percent of Green Park Road’s original reconstruction cost of $2.4 million. But as the project has been delayed over the years, the estimated cost to redevelop the road is expected to rise.

While the East-West Gateway deadline originally was set for September 2008, city officials last year successfully applied for a one-year extension to develop project submittals. City officials sought the one-year extension to provide more time for planning and for acquiring temporary right-of-way easements to complete the road’s reconstruction. Aldermen last year voted to enter into a consulting agreement with Mark Payken of Payken Consulting to assist the city in purchasing Green Park Road properties that are needed to complete the road’s redevelopment.

As for the bridge over Gravois Creek, Griffin told aldermen Feb. 17 that its width will be expanded to allow for smoother traffic flow.

“Right now, the existing bridge has a failure rating below 3 (on a scale of 10),” he said. “Basically, what that means is for the current traffic and the anticipated traffic, it’s not wide enough. So in order to bring that rating up, we’re going to have to increase the bridge width, just the traffic width, to 32 feet. And then in doing so, we’re also going to have a pedestrian path on the north side. So overall, the bridge is going to be approximately from end to end about 110 feet long.”

Griffin also said that despite concerns from the Missouri Department of Transportation that the bridge is in a floodplain area, he does not believe it would be beneficial to the city to further elevate the bridge above Gravois Creek. Because Green Park Road itself is located in the floodplain area, Griffin pointed out that bridge approaches could easily be flooded.

Additionally, city officials last week estimated that the bridge itself has been flooded only a handful of times in the past 40 years.

“There’s been some talk as to our design of the bridge,” Griffin said. “And we met with MoDOT because this (bridge area) is in the floodplain. In fact, it’s in the floodway. In order to bring the bridge up and out of the floodplain, we’d have to bring it up approximately about 8 feet. In doing so, that would eliminate these (two) houses here.

“That really wouldn’t benefit the city any at all because your approaches would still be in a floodplain. So even if the bridge didn’t flood, you would still have your approaches that would flood, which would make the bridge unusable. So we feel that throwing money at the bridge and raising it up out of the floodplain is kind of senseless to the city.”

As for Green Park Road itself, Griffin said last week that the road’s entire reconstruction would not be finished by the time the bridge project begins.

“Will Green Park Road be finished before the bridge is worked on?” Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Wilson asked.

“Probably not,” Griffin said.

“You mean they’ll both be going on at the same time?” Wilson said.

“Probably,” Griffin said. “The bridge will start probably before Green Park Road does.”

“Oh, so it would be a matter of addressing (traffic) in and out from the south,” Wilson said.

“But then there could be a possibility that once the bridge starts, not real long after that Green Park Road could start before the bridge is done,” City Administrator Zella Pope said.

Green Park Road’s first phase of reconstruction, for which plans must be developed by September, will be along a 6,000-foot stretch from Tesson Ferry Road to Lin Valle Drive, according to preliminary plans. The road will be widened with two extra feet of lanes on each side to make 12-foot lanes.

Other improvements include a new pedestrian pathway along the road’s north side, an additional right-turn lane at the road’s intersection with Tesson Ferry Road and a new left-turn lane at Antrill Drive.

Preliminary design plans also call for eliminating drop-offs and ditches from the road and replacing them with vertical curbs on each side. Because the curbing would replace ditches on each side of the road, a storm sewer would be installed across the road’s length.

Substantial grade changes also will be made at the road’s intersections with Kohrs Lane, Mueller Road and Lisa Marie Court to improve sight-line visibility and provide better curb alignment.

The second phase of Green Park Road’s reconstruction will run from Lin Valle Drive and includes widening the Gravois Creek bridge.