- Associated Press - Saturday, October 29, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A 114-year-old footbridge that residents call the Eiffel Tower of Springfield is in danger of facing demolition after being fenced off due to safety concerns.

The Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was fenced off in March according to the Springfield News-Leader (https://sgfnow.co/2dTBDPG). The city hired an engineering firm to evaluate the bridge’s structure.

Spencer Jones with Great River Engineering said corrosion has eaten away at the metal on many parts of the bridge. Engineers also found that paint on the bridge was failing to protect the structure. Both ends of the bridge are also damaged and need to be replaced.

Jones has presented the City Council with five options ranging from investing nearly $17 million for repeated rehabilitations, to preserve the original structure, to a $410,000 demolition.

“We’re not just looking at now,” Jones said. “We’re trying to look at how we can preserve a 1902 structure for the future.”

Jones said if the city makes the decision to demolish the bridge, a new bridge can be modeled after the same style.

Many Springfield residents spoke out in support of keeping the bridge.

“It’s my personal opinion we do everything we can to preserve as much of the original material as possible,” Commercial Club president Mary Collette said.

“I hope we can get out and help raise an upwelling of community support for this project … We’re ready to raise that money, whatever you need.”

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com


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