Bicentennial Bridge in Jefferson City now open to the public (AUDIO)

by | Dec 21, 2021 | News, Outdoors, Show Me Today

photo courtesy Ameren Missouri

A new bridge that runs from the state Capitol complex in Jefferson City to an island on the Missouri River is now open to the public.

At the official ribbon-cutting, Gov. Mike Parson praised the contribution of the late B.J. DeLong who got the project started with a check for $3.2 million. According to Jefferson CIty Mayor Carrie Tergin, DeLong worked on the idea of such a bridge for 50 years.

“I can’t imagine doing something like this for a legacy for what it means and the one thing I do know what generosity really means for people to do things for other people that you’ll never meet, you’ll never see, and you’ll never know,” Parson said.

The 830-foot bridge to Adrian’s Island (the Adrian family donated it to the state in the 1970s), cost $4.9 million to build with about $4 million coming from private and corporate donations.  The bicycle-pedestrian path runs above the Union Pacific railroad tracks.

Chip Webb, director of the central Missouri division for Ameren Missouri said there were infrastructure challenges for the bridge: getting over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and getting under Ameren’s high-voltage power line that runs parallel to the tracks. Ameren Missouri partnered with Plocher Construction and BBC Electrical Contractors to replace three steel structures and raise the power lines to create a safe clearance for the bridge to pass under.

In-kind donations by Plocher, BBC and Ameren Missouri covered most of the $650,000 project costs, according to Webb.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe has been involved in the project from its early stages.

“Hundreds of thousands of people for generations will be using this. They’ll see a view of the Capitol that nobody’s ever seen before and it’s an asset that not many other state capitals if any, none, have right in their own backyard, Kehoe told the crowd of about 200 on-site.

The bridge committee is still taking donations to add features to the bridge and continue to spruce up the public park on the Island.

Missourinet’s Joey Parker interviewed Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin about the bridge for Show Me Today (6:24)