With $8 million in new Missouri funding, renovations finally expected for Springfield’s Jefferson Avenue Footbridge
Springfield’s Jefferson Avenue Footbridge closed in March 2016 due to steel corrosion. With a new infusion of Missouri funding, it’s expected to be fully renovated by spring of 2025.
"I think we finally have an opportunity to show the community how beautiful this amazing structure is," said Mary Collette recently.
Collette is a former Springfield City Council member who’s long been a business owner on historic Commercial Street. Residents and entrepreneurs around that neighborhood see the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge as key to the area’s future.
Built in 1902, the footbridge spans over numerous railroad tracks to link the C-Street mixed-use area with the more residential Woodland Heights neighborhood located just to the north.
City officials closed down the bridge more than seven years ago due to safety concerns. Afterward, construction costs kept climbing. Two years ago, the city bid out the project thinking it would cost $3.2 million — but bids came back at more than double the price tag, which has now climbed to $8.3 million. Then last year, the city sought a highly competitive grant from the federal government to pay for repairs but was unsuccessful.
Now, $8 million in funding approved by Missouri lawmakers, and Gov. Mike Parson is set to go toward a full renovation including new steel, new paint, new sidewalks and new elevators to serve people living with disabilities who might use the bridge.
City Council approved the funding Monday night in a nine-to-zero vote.
C-Street boosters like Collette credit the efforts of state Sen. Lincoln Hough, a Greene County Republican, for helping to secure the money to finally fix the historic footbridge. They say the impact will boost the neighborhood and the entire city.
“You will see a lot more money being spent in the shops and restaurants," Collette said. "You will see cars that are traveling through on Route 66.”
The remaining $300,000 or so will be paid for with local funds that the city said are already budgeted. Their source is the 1/4-cent Capital Improvements Sales Tax and the 1/8-cent Transportation Sales Tax.