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Low Water Bridge in Joplin to be Preserved - KOAM TV 7

Low Water Bridge in Joplin to be Preserved

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Joplin city officials come up with plans for a new bridge over Shoal Creek after a petition to save the existing low-water bridge gathered 1,700 signatures. A meeting was held last night to discuss the options with people who live nearby.
Those that signed the petition to save the low water bridge at Jackson Avenue have a reason to celebrate, the 97 year old bridge will be preserved.

“We just felt that there was a better alternative, not that we were opposed to the bridge, we just didn't want to have it right there in the middle of the park and we didn't want to lose our bridge,” says Roderick Harsh, the chairman of the Save the Low Water Bridge Committee.
The bridge goes through McIndoe Park, the oldest park in Joplin. Harsh says building a new bridge in that location would have negatively impacted the park.
But the bridge is in poor condition and becomes dangerous in heavy rains.
“We have lost lives at that bridge so how long do you continue to have a situation like that? And this is an opportunity to eliminate that in the future,” says Dan Salisbury with Public Works.
The city will move forward with plans to build a different bridge closer to I-44, connecting Glendale Road and Castle Drive. Plans for the new bridge involve less road work which will save money and having both bridges will fulfill the feedback the city got from residents.
“Raise the bridge as high as you can to pass as much water as you can, make sure it can handle pedestrian traffic and then tie it in to the trails in the area and we can meet all of those things with this project,” says Salisbury.
The low water bridge will remain open until construction is complete on the new bridge. The existing bridge will then be closed off to vehicular traffic. That bridge has to close in order to use federal bridge funds. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able cross at Jackson Avenue.
“They can sit out there and have a picnic, dangle their feet in the water, I think it would be a real new amenity to have an old bridge become a pedestrian crossing,” says Harsh.
His committee will now work to have the bridge marked as a historic landmark.
City officials are working on more detailed plans and setting a time line for the project and a public meeting will be held in the coming months.

The Save the Bridge committee has tentatively scheduled a "victory picnic" in the park for this Sunday at noon.

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