Members of the public will soon be able to track the progress of the Chester Bridge environmental study.
Missouri Department of Transportation Project Manager Jason Williams informed the Herald Tribune this week that the Missouri Department of Transportation and engineering consultant CH2M have had their "kick-off" meeting on the study, which is part of the process toward eventual replacement of the bridge.
"We are currently developing a list of community 'stakeholders' from both sides of the river," Williams wrote in an email to the newspaper.
Williams noted that CH2M will also develop a website for the project.
"CH2M will soon start developing a website specifically for providing updates, notifications, and a means for contacting the project team," Williams wrote. "It will be several weeks before the website is live -- a media release will be issued when it's ready for public consumption."
In a separate email, Buddy Desai, CH2M's consultant project manager for the study, stated CH2M is in the information-gathering phase at this point.
"We are currently in the data gathering effort for environmental resources in the study area and engineering data such as traffic volumes and crash history," he said. "We'll be developing a website and will begin populating it with study-related data."
Desai also clarified what "stakeholders" are.
"Stakeholders, in the simplest terms, is anyone who has interest in the project," he said. "We will be developing a mailing/email list of stakeholders so we can convey study information to them such as when we will be conducting public meetings."
The 75-year-old Chester Bridge is the only Mississippi River crossing between the Jefferson Barracks Bridge on the south side of St. Louis and the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge in Cape Girardeau.
Both of those bridges are newer than the Chester Bridge, which has become a favorite point of crossing not only for tourists, but also for various organizations and individuals on charitable causes.
According to a souvenir program from the bridge's August 23, 1942 grand opening, the first contract on the Chester Bridge was awarded on July 12, 1939.
The Missouri approach was completed in July 1942, with construction completed on the Illinois side on Aug. 18 of that year.