The Sedalia City Council, in a 30-minute special session held Tuesday at noon, made a decision to move forward with reopening the Washington Street Bridge, which has been closed since late February, due to safety and structural concerns voiced by MoDOT.

Council heard a presentation from Public Works Director Chris Davies, after he received a final engineering report from HDR, a worldwide engineering company with offices in Columbia, Forsyth, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis.

Davies said he was presented with several options for short, mid- and long-term solutions for the 100-year-old bridge, which used to carry traffic over a railroad before it was shut down.

Option 1A provides for one-way traffic, northbound only.

Details for Option 1A involve placing a barrier 1.75 feet west of the centerline, leaving an 11-foot lane for northbound traffic on the east side of the bridge. Also installs signs at each end such as “one way” and “do not enter.”

Cost is estimated at under $5,000 and can be completed in as little time as two weeks.

Option 1B basically adds to Option 1A, including adding a traffic control signal light that favors northbound traffic, until a southbound vehicle appears. Appropriate signage would be installed.

The cost of Option 1B is under $30,000 and once the signal light is available, the project could be completed in about 20 weeks.

That is the course of action preferred by Council at this time, as evidenced by a vote of 7 yes, one absent (First Ward Councilman Jack Robinson was absent).

First Ward Councilman Tom Oldham made the motion to move forward with Options 1A and 1B. Third Ward Councilman Bob Hiller seconded the motion.

Mayor Pro Tem Tina Boggess was in charge of the meeting, attended by a handful of residents. Mayor Dawson was absent from Tuesday's special meeting.

Assistant City Administrator Matt Wirt sat in for City Administrator Kelvin Shaw.

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“I am pleased with the options, because it means that we will be able to open that bridge up for service for folks to go across it, sooner than if we do nothing and just wait to build another bridge,” commented Mayor Pro Tem (and Second Ward Councilwoman Boggess) after the meeting.

“And that is very important, to be able to let those on the northwest and northeast side know that the bridge is open, and that emergency crews can get to them as they did before,” she told KSIS, adding that opening up the bridge “will ease some of that worry that they have. And I am right there with them.”

Boggess stressed that a timeline of approximately three weeks “is a whole lot better than three or four years.”

Boggess has been in contact with her constituents on a daily basis concerning the Washington Bridge.

“Now we can tell them, we're going to get this open so that we'll be able to safely use it again,” she said.

Adjusting the City's budget to pay for the proposed options can take place at the next Council meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, July 15.

“We could even call another special meeting if we needed to, but we already know what those numbers are, so we can go ahead and move forward,” Boggess concluded.

Other, more pricey options for the bridge include designing and constructing pillar encasements at an estimated cost of $300,000. That would take about a year.

Designing and constructing a brand new railroad bridge elsewhere in the City would cost an estimated $15 million and take three years to complete.

In addition to a work session, Council also approved a liquor license for Chris Paszkiewicz dba Truffle & Sorrel LLC, 322 South Ohio, for liquor by the drink, $450.

Paszkiewicz, who also runs an ice cream shop next door, plans to open his new restaurant July 23.

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