Bridge demolition contract awarded

Thursday, April 15, 2004

The old Mississippi River bridge at Cape Girardeau will be coming down at a cost of nearly $2.23 million later this year, but the demolition company must work around the spawning season of an endangered fish, state highway officials said Wednesday.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded the demolition contract to Midwest Foundation Corp., doing business as Tremont Foundation Corp. of Tremont, Ill., at its regular meeting in Jefferson City on Wednesday.

Demolition work on the old bridge could get underway in May and be completed by the end of the year, said Missouri Department of Transportation resident engineer Bob Wilson.

The contractor initially will remove the road deck and roadway approaches before blowing up any part of the bridge structure, highway officials said.

No part of the bridge can be dropped into the Mississippi River before Aug. 1 because of U.S. Fish and Wildlife regulations cited in the project permit issued by the Coast Guard.

Scott Meyer, MoDOT district engineer in Sikeston, Mo., said the pallid sturgeon, which is an endangered fish, is believed to live in the river near the bridge.

As a result, the contractor must wait until after the fish's spawning season before any bridge debris can be dropped into the river, Meyer said.

Meyer said the cost of demolition is slightly less than what MoDOT engineers had estimated.

"I think the price of steel has gone up so the price of scrap has gone up," he said.

That benefits the contractor, who will be able to sell the scrap metal for more money and lowering the demolition cost to the state, Meyer said.

Meyer said MoDOT officials expect many area residents will want to witness the bridge demolition. He said they plan to keep area residents informed of the demolition schedule through the news media.

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