Springfield's Historic Jefferson Avenue Footbridge - Springfield, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 37° 13.795 W 093° 17.350
15S E 474348 N 4120417
This marker is on the gate leading to the entrance of the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge - located at 377 East Commercial Street in Springfield, Missouri.
Waymark Code: WM16WKD
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 10/18/2022
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Geo Ferret
Views: 1

Marker Text:



The Jefferson Avenue Footbridge was
closed March 1, 2016 after Springfield
Public Works inspectors found corrosion
and steel loss. Due to safety concerns, it was
deemed in the public's best interest to close
the bridge to conduct a full evaluation and
determine repair options.

The City of Springfield
hired Springfield-based
civil engineering firm
Great River Engineering
(GRE) to conduct an
in-depth structural
evaluation of the bridge.
GRE has experience
rehabilitating several
bridges in the region.

GRE conducted a structural evaluation
that identified deficiencies including:

One out of every three primary members
(36.4%) do not have adequate capacity and
need to be repaired or strengthened.

Six of the 10 vertical columns in the south
approach need to be strengthened.

The stairs on both the north and south
approaches need to be replaced. Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility
also needs to be incorporated.

The paint system is failing in numerous
locations. It is recommended that the
existing paint be removed and a three-coat
paint system applied.


Built in 1902, Springfield's Jefferson Avenue Footbridge is
a three-span steel cantilever through truss footbridge, the
first of its kind known to be built in Missouri.

Originally spanning 16 railroad tracks of the St. Louis
and San Francisco Railroad ("the Frisco Line"), the
563-foot long structure was originally constructed by
the American Bridge Company of Pennsylvania with
construction engineering by J.W. Hoover of Kansas
City, Missouri.

The Footbridge's innovative 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 was constructed in 1902 at public expense
after the Frisco, Springfield's largest employer
threatened to pull its division headquarters out of
Springfield. A pedestrian bridge was needed to solve
a long-standing problem: residents from north of
the rail yard walking across 16 busy tracks to reach
Commercial Street, the principal business district of
North Springfield. The bridge originally cost $8,500.
While the bridge has sustained some changes
throughout its lifetime, such as the removal of bicycle
ramps and previous restoration efforts, it maintains its
integrity of material, association, setting and function.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in
2003, the 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.<
br> Right Side:

Rehabilitation Efforts

Results of the in-depth structural evaluation of the bridge
were presented to Springfield City Council in late 2016.
A public engagement effort was then launched to help
gauge public opinion on the future of the bridge and
provide input towards selecting a rehabilitation option.

Public input results
Indicated support for
the full rehabilitation of
the footbridge and City
Council members gave
the go-ahead to spend
approximately $200,000
for the structural design
Phase of the preservation.

The City has secured
federal funding to help
fund $3.2 million toward
the rehabilitation. Eighty
percent of this amount
comes from Surface Transportation Block Grants (STBG)
with a 20% local match divided among various funding
sources, including the 1/4-cent Capital Improvement
and 1/8-cent Transportation sales taxes. The match
also relies on funds raised by the Commercial Club of

As a requirement of this funding and to allow equitable
access to all, the bridge must be brought up to
compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA). Following a public input process conducted
in early 2018, the top designs selected involve the
installation of small, light-duty lift elevators on the north
and south ends of the bridge as well as the reconstruction
of stairs. Light-duty lifts are also considered the most
cost-effective method of achieving ADA compliance.

Due to the footbridge's inclusion on the National Register
of Historic Places, in early 2019, interested parties from
the local and national level gathered to participate in the
State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) 106 process
consultation meeting. Parties worked together to discuss
the proposed designs and provide direction on addressing
and historically documenting the design modifications
planned through the rehabilitation.

Jefferson Avenue Footbridge Information:

The Jefferson Street Footbridge, Springfield, Greene County, Missouri, is a three-span steel cantilever through truss footbridge, and the first of its kind known to be built in Missouri. The bridge, originally spanning sixteen railroad tracks of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, is oriented in a north-south line, beginning north of the head of Jefferson Avenue (named Jefferson Street at the time of construction), where it intersects Commercial Street, and continues north over the rail-road tracks to Chase Street and the adjacent residential area. The bridge is approximately 562 feet in length, including an 80 foot long south approach (but excluding entry stairs). The bridge's two towers rise about 50 ft. above grade. The steel substructure is 25 ft. above grade, is supported on concrete piers, and has a six-foot wide wooden walking deck. The footbridge is constructed with through truss system with Warren webbing. The American Bridge Company of Pennsylvania constructed the bridge in 1902. The Construction Engineer was J. W. Hoover of Kansas City, Missouri. While the bridge has sustained some changes, such as the removal of the bicycle ramps and restoration in recent years, it maintains its integrity of material, association, setting, and function.

The overall look and decorative features of the footbridge give it the appearance of a suspension bridge. There are two tall piers connected by trusses whose upper cords were built in catenary curves. However, the bridge is made of rigid materials is structurally a cantilever bridge. The principal bridge spans rest on four sets of concrete footings. The footings are narrow, designed to fit between adjoining sets of railroad tracks. The piers are narrow in order to accommodate trains passing between them. The 80 foot-long approach ramp between the south entry stair and the bridge rests on the first bridge pier and on a series of smaller footers along the approaches length. The north entry stair and the short north approach are supported on a series of verticals and diagonals also resting on square concrete footers. The stairs on either end of the bridge, which years ago replaced the bicycle ramps, are constructed of steel C-channels filled with concrete.

The bridge was built using a though truss system with Warren webbing. The diagonals in Warren webbing act as both tension and compression. This web of diagonals allows for a very rigid and stable truss since Warren webbed trusses can be cantilevered into space with support only at one end.

- National Register Application

History of Mark:
see long description

Additional point: N 37° 13.789 W 093° 17.370

Web link: Not listed

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