Shuttered to the public for eight years for safety concerns, north Springfield's historic Jefferson Avenue Footbridge will soon be given a second chance at a new chapter in history.

The City of Springfield is soliciting bids from qualified contractors for the rehabilitation of the 122-year-old cantilever truss bridge. Bids will be accepted through 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 9.

Built in 1902, the 562-foot-long steel bridge allows pedestrians to cross 13 tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail yard between Chase Street and Commercial Street and stands as a symbol of Springfield history and northside pride.

On March 1, 2016, the footbridge was closed due to safety concerns after Public Works discovered corrosion and steel loss during a routine inspection. The City hired Springfield-based Great River Engineering (GRE) to conduct an in-depth structural evaluation of the bridge. Results uncovered deficiencies in more than one third of the primary structural members and required the continued closure of the bridge until extensive repairs could be made.

The solicited construction project will involve the complete rehabilitation of the existing steel bridge structure, involving the repair and replacement of existing deficient structural members, removal and replacement of wood decking, replacement of stairs, application of a new paint system and installation of lighting. Two elevators will be installed on the north and south approaches to bring the bridge into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide equitable access to all.

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After an extensive public engagement and planning process involving multiple local, state and national agencies, the City originally attempted to bid the rehabilitation project in the fall of 2021. Due to a variety of industry factors, bid results were nearly double the cost of the City's roughly $3 million dollar engineering estimate and approved budget at the time. The City continued pursuing options for additional funding necessary for potential rebidding of the project at a later date.

In June, 2023, the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge was given a second chance at rehabilitation through the approval of an $8 million appropriation from the State of Missouri's fiscal year 2024 budget. A Direct Appropriation Project Agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) required for the City to gain access to the allocated funds was approved by City Council in November of 2023.

"Since the approval of the Project Agreement in the fall, Public Works has been reaching back out to the BNSF railroad, MoDOT and other agencies to update all bid documents and prepare to bid the project as quickly as possible," explains Project Manager Nicholas Edelman. "We are excited to be moving forward once again and hopeful that qualified contractors will come forward to be a part of a new chapter in history for the bridge."

An optional pre-bid conference meeting will be hosted for interested contractors at 2 p.m., Tuesday, March 26 in the Busch Municipal Building second floor West Conference room.

The $8 million approved through the state budget is designated specifically for rehabilitation of the historic bridge and cannot be used for improvements to the Footbridge Plaza space or other infrastructure. Upon the selection of a qualified contractor, the City is hopeful the rehabilitation project will be under construction by the end of the year.

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"We would like to thank Governor Mike Parson, Senator Lincoln Hough and our state legislative delegation for approving the funding that is allowing this project to move forward," says Public Works Director Dan Smith.

For full details, view the Notice to Contractors. Learn more about the effort to rehabilitate Springfield's Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, visit

About the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge

Built in 1902, the 562-foot-long steel Jefferson Avenue Footbridge allows pedestrians to cross 13 tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail yard between Chase Street and Commercial Street.

The Jefferson Avenue Footbridge was the first of its kind to be built in Missouri and is unique in engineering and historic significance. The footbridge was built at public expense by The American Bridge Company of Pennsylvania. Its innovative multi-arched cantilever design made it possible for workers to construct the bridge by spanning out over the railroad tracks, thereby minimizing impacts to the rail lines below. The bridge also represents the history of two cities coming together – North and South – and the community's connection to the railroad and the commercial growth opportunities it provided.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge continues as a symbol of growth and opportunity today. Prior to its closure, the bridge served as a vital pedestrian and bicycle connection, linking the booming Commercial Street Historic District to the Woodland Heights Neighborhood and helping to spur growth of the Moon City Creative District across the tracks to the north.


For more information, contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected].

Filed Under: Government, City

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