JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — As Missouri celebrates its bicentennial, a new landmark is under construction in the capital city to celebrate the milestone.
The Bicentennial Bridge will provide a pedestrian and bike path from the Capitol to Adrian’s Island, an area along the Missouri River. The bridge will connect to a 30-acre parkland north of the Union Pacific Railroad. The project is expected to expand Capitol tourism and provide access to a new park as well as the City Greenway and Katy Trail system, an enhancement Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said had been in the works for a long time.
“We’re a very unique city to have such a beautiful Capitol overlooking this amazing river and to have such an asset in our city — it’s like we’ve been so close, yet so far from it,” Tergin told The Missouri Times. “Now we’ll be able to actually take a walk or bike over this bridge and be able to be at our riverfront and be able to connect with our river; we’re very fortunate and we’re excited to be able to enjoy the beautiful nature in our capital city.”
“It’s such a unique perspective to look up at the Capitol from Adrian’s Island,” she continued. “It’s a stunning view that we aren’t able to see at the moment, and we soon will.”
The bridge will feature a Gold Star Memorial honoring veterans at the entrance in addition to educational panels along its length from various sponsors. The new park will have walking and biking trails and feature assets taken from the statehouse during its renovation, including stone columns from the top of the building.
The largest project approved by the Bicentennial Commission, the bridge has several beneficiaries in the community; the DeLong family has been longtime supporters, putting more than $3.5 million behind the construction while Union Pacific just announced its $200,000 sponsorship. The project has a price tag of around $4.5 million and is still taking donations, with around $500,000 still needed.
“We have several businesses, banks, and individuals who have contributed,” Tergin said. “It’s really been a lot of local support, and we welcome more as we continue fundraising. I’ve seen so many people peering over the edge and asking questions, and it’s exciting to see that enthusiasm and interest from the community.”
Tergin isn’t the only official excited for the bridge: Gov. Mike Parson has touted the project, saying it embodied Missouri’s focus on transportation and infrastructure.
“I can’t think of a better example of infrastructure and workforce development. This has almost every piece of infrastructure out there,” Parson said. “It is the perfect example of the private sector, city, county, and state working together for what I believe will be a true addition to our bicentennial year for the state of Missouri and for generations to come.”
Tergin said the hope was to complete the bridge as close to the bicentennial as possible. She plans on a dedication of the portion that’s completed by the anniversary in August with a full reveal expected in the fall.
“This whole project has this feeling of discovery — a lot of people didn’t even know there was an island, and it’s a great opportunity for people in the capital city and visitors to discover this amazing park that just happens to be right out the back door of our Capitol,” she said. “It really is an amazing opportunity for us as a city and as a state.”
Cover visualization courtesy of Bartlett & West.