Gasconade River Bridge
Gasconade River Bridge Project Report
Workin' Bridges declared in July and was awarded the potential purchase of Gasconade River Bridge in October of 2017. At the meetings attended by project engineers, cultural affairs and us we were given the 2015 inspection report that was the basis for the cost of repairs estimated by MoDOT.
These documents go further than any engineering study that Workin' Bridges could do for this project. Completed relatively recently the estimate for repairs was about $3.1 million with $600,000 in contingencies and construction engineering/working drawings.
We also received the original drawings for the bridge that declared, on the very front page, red lead paint was specified. The lovely red color of this bridge is lead. In short, lead paint abatement is required for any future use of this bridge. The abatement is required for our iron workers, for the environment over and around Gasconade River Bridge and for guests in the future that might want to touch the rails.
In November, we switched gears from providing this study because we had no need for further evidence of what type of repairs would be needed for this project. We asked MoDOT for land on either end of the bridge, we asked that they use their funds to give us a clean bridge, with no deck or lead paint on it. They refused. We approached Federal Highway Administration in Washington D.C. on how they could possibly sell a toxic bridge and could they find a different way to help preserve historic bridges. We requested that they use their demo funds for that purpose rather than the $160,000 that could go towards preservation of the bridge. If those demolitoion funds were taken, then no further state/federal grants would be available for this bridge. Possible TAP funds for trails and preservation are only given to government applicants or non profits working with a government. Laclede County was not interested in this project, nor were there economic development funds for a rural property.
We switched gears to ultimately find a developer that could see that the cost of repairs of this bridge would be beneficial over the long run. We also developed a brand that would be utilized to identify our goals for this bridge. While doing that we realized that all of Route 66 required some level of preservation dollars. We proposed that Revive 66 become a membership arm that would work with the Road Ahead Partnership, Chambers of Commerce and Associations that are already established along all of Route 66. A membership fee of $66 with 50,0000 engaged member would provide over 3 million dollars a year towards Route 66 preservation, including the Gasoncade River Bridge. Developer interest would be higher if bridge was restored.
At that point we went on the January Road Show, funded by NSRGA, to do our research on both the broader picture and that of the primary project, Gasconade River Bridge. Revive 66 was accepted very well on the road trip that began in January in Los Angeles with part 1 finishing in Oklahoma City. We had a great time as fresh eyes on the road and we learned a lot. As we were preparing to present this info we realized that the route is really a very small community and that our fresh research was not wanted. We met Jim Hinkley, talked, and he shared his thoughts on how we may help business owners on the route. He never formally joined our organization, worked for us, or raised funds on our behalf. Any representation of a business relationship is false.
We decided in early February to back out of our Agreement of Interest in the Project with MoDOT - no one else had stepped up, so Section 106 can be restarted and a new owner can potentially be found if this historic bridge is to be save. For the inspection report and other images and documents please see the assessment below. If you have questions please ask.
Everybody has a bridge story. We want to hear yours and we will post them here.
My family did fall picnics near the bowstring bridge for generations. When I was three, playing on a tree down over the river, I fell in. I was saved by an old friend who became my hero and friend. We learned about
life at the river, every fall. In 2001 I returned to Iowa and restarted our fall picnics, we called them Skunk River Sundays. The bowstring was always there to cross until the fall of 2009 when too much rain in too short a time caused the bridge to go downriver. We found it, we found Nels and we pulled her out of the river, because we were too stubborn to let the county have the scrap.
Now that bridge will become Paper Mill Bridge, showcased at Auburn Heights Preserve in Yorklyn, Delaware, and I am the contractor I was always supposed to be. I love bridges and we hav
e a lot more to save.