JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A year to the day ahead of the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s statehood, construction officially began on the largest project approved by the state’s Bicentennial Commission.
Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Terigin held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Bicentennial Bridge at the Capitol Monday morning. Tergin was joined by Gov. Mike Parson and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, as well as donors and workers that will take on the construction of the project.
“Despite the challenges that the Capitol City has faced over the last year, including a tornado, major floods, and the pandemic, none of those things will stop this project from moving forward,” Tergin said. “Exactly one year from today, on Aug. 10, 2021, the state of Missouri will celebrate 200 years. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the year of our bicentennial than with this groundbreaking.”
Parson echoed the importance of the project, saying it would have an impact on future generations.
“There will be thousands upon thousands of people who are going to get to enjoy this,” Parson said. “There’s gonna be thousands of kids go across this little bridge with their eyes wide open and see the neat thing that it is to do. It’s another way to remember Jefferson City, as a lot of us did growing up when we came to the state Capitol.”
“This is the anchor spot for the bicentennial project with this bridge that we’re going to have to Adrian’s Island,” said Kehoe. “This is an asset, as the governor said, that generations of people are going to experience, and that’s a lasting legacy.”
All three speakers thanked the DeLong family, who donated $3 million to the project and worked on the planning stages.
The family, many of whom were present at the groundbreaking ceremony, have been long-time supporters of the project. Tergin recognized family matriarch BJ DeLong at the ceremony, who she said came to her with the idea for the bridge and had worked on plans for the project herself for more than 30 years. Tergin said the family had donated more than $3 million to the project.
The bridge is set to 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 meant to expand Capitol tourism and provide access to the new park as well as the City Greenway and Katy Trail system.
Priced at nearly $5 million, it is the largest project endorsed by the Bicentennial Commission.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in late summer or early fall. Tergin said she expected the bridge to be completed by Missouri’s bicentennial. She also said the project will be handled by a local company.
The ceremony concluded with a ribbon-cutting.
“Our river city is about to realize our connection to the Missouri Riverfront,” she said.