Jefferson City’s mayor says enough private funding has been secured to start construction of a “Bicentennial Bridge” that will link the Missouri State Capitol Complex to the riverfront at an undeveloped piece of land called Adrian’s Island.
Mayor Carrie Tergin spoke to Missourinet outside the Governor’s Mansion during Friday night’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
“Because we know that right over that overlook here (near the Mansion) as we look to the river that we will be able to access the river,” Tergin says. “So here in a couple of years, that will be an added part of our festivals.”
Bridge supporters note more than 400,000 people visit the Missouri Capitol Complex annually, and there’s no current way to access the riverfront without crossing Union Pacific’s railroad tracks. Thousands of children travel to the Capitol annually during the legislative session, as part of school groups.
Tergin says this is the most exciting news that she’s ever announced as mayor. Tergin says the 830-feet bridge will span over railroad tracks and will provide pedestrian and bicycle access to the Missouri River.
“We’re really excited that it’s going to even be built all with private funds,” says Tergin. “So it shows that we have a giving community and we have those that really want to see this happen.”
The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports businessman B.J. DeLong, who owns a Jefferson City steel fabrication company, has donated $3.2 million to the project.
“And it (the project) will be definitely a game changer for not only our city but our state and definitely an amazing legacy gift for the Bicentennial in 2021,” Tergin says.
The project is expected to be finished before Missouri’s 200th birthday in 2021.
Project supporters say the bridge and Adrian’s Island will be “icons” for generations, celebrating Missouri and the river of Lewis and Clark.
Backers say you’ll be able to fish on Adrian’s Island, as well as walk on trails. Several railcars with interactive exhibits are also planned for the bridge.
You can see more artist renderings of the project here.
The Jefferson City News-Tribune published a Wednesday editorial about the project, noting that the project has been a dream of several past leaders/organizations in the community, including former First Lady Jean Carnahan, a Democrat, and former News-Tribune owner Betty Weldon.
Click here to listen to the conversation between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, which was recorded outside the Governor’s Mansion on November 30, 2018:
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