Republic Council Approves Bridge Grant Proposal

The Republic City Council has approved a request from the city’s public works department to apply for a federal grant that would build a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 60.

The federal grant would cover 80 percent of the project’s estimated $7.465 million cost.

Republic city staff revealed during the council meeting Tuesday night that MoDOT suggested changes to their plan, including putting a fence in the median of U.S. 60 and other barriers that would discourage pedestrians from not using the new bridge.

Part of the design of the bridge would include elevators rather than long ramps to allow the construction to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Republic staff noted the cost is prohibitive for a ramp compared to the elevator when taking space and other factors into account; staff noted they were not completely on board with one or the other, and would look at all options before final design is brought to council to approval.

The elevator was a concern of Councilmember John Jones, who said over time the maintenance costs would be lower with a ramp versus an elevator.

Councilmember Charles Brashers, who noted he was not against the idea of the bridge, had concerns about funding being “taken from the street department” and mentioned that many streets in the city are in need of resurfacing, which could be delayed or slowed because of funding going to the bridge project.

Republic city staff said the funding for the city’s portion of the project would come from existing funds like the street department and would not result in a tax increase for residents.

Councilmember Eric Franklin raised concerns about the life of the bridge (50 years) and who would be responsible for maintenance of the bridge, which staff said was the city only without MoDOT help.

Staff noted that 70 percent of residents with school age children live on the opposite side of U.S. 60 from the schools.

The proposal to apply for the federal grant received unanimous approval.