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Jefferson City and Cole County aim to replace Dunklin Street Bridge

The Cole County and Jefferson City government could split the multi-million dollar cost of replacing a deteriorating bridge off Missouri Boulevard.

The Dunklin Street Bridge located over Wears Creek near Missouri Boulevard has become a safety hazard, according to Presiding Cole County Commissioner Sam Bushman.

“I think it’s kind of an emergency, (replacement) needs to be done,” Bushman said. “(Commuters) drive that quite often.”

Commissioners signed off to split the roughly $2.6 million cost, which includes the design of the bridge and the adjacent section of Dunklin Stree, as well as its construction.

A 2017 inspection by the Missouri Department of Transportation discovered sections under the bridge decayed. A year later, the outside lanes of the bridge were closed to focus traffic away from the edges.

The bridge’s structure has been a subject of concern since at least 2013, according to a MODOT inspection report from 2018.

Bushman said he is worried about the bridge deteriorating further, and that large trucks from nearby business or school buses could be at risk if the bridge is left unattended.

“(The construction is) going to be an inconvenience for a while, but in the long run it will be a lot safer,” Bushman said.

Along with safety, the city councilman for the area aims to improve the economic viability with the improvements.

“It’s kind of a bland bridge today,” said Rich Mihalevich, Ward 2 councilman for Jefferson City.

“It’ll be a much better entrance into the Old Munichburg (neighborhood). I hope that it spurs a little bit of investment in Old Munichburg and the southside.”

While the county has agreed to move forward with the project, the Jefferson City council has yet to sign off. The council is expected to vote on whether or not to provide their half of the costs at their April 15 meeting.

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