Adrian's Island bill waits for governor's approval

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JEFFERSON CITY - About 30 years since the idea originated, legislators have finally passed about a bill that will connect Jefferson City to Adrian's Island.

Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, proposed HB-1838, which authorizes the state's purchase of land needed to begin building a bridge to the island.

"We're a river city without access to the river," Bernskoetter said. "We've always wanted access to the river and this was the best way that we could find to do it."

Once Gov. Mike Parson signs the bill, the city will begin building a bridge from the Capitol over the railroad tracks and to Adrian's island.

Mayor Carrie Tergin said, "This is really exciting because there has been so much interest in the community for years, we want to get to the river." 

As of now, the bridge will include a site for educational opportunities about shipping along the river, shipping by train and may be an extension of the veteran's memorial near the Capitol.

Bartlett & West was chosen as the civil engineering company to plan and construct the bridge if the bill is signed.

Company Vice President Bob Gilbert said, "The place we picked is a great place because it's right there at the center of the community and right at a lot of activity with the Capitol. It's a natural place for people to extend their travel on foot into the 30 acre island."

The island's location has some people concerned about flooding. However, Gilbert said his company did research on just how often the land floods.

"We looked at it from 2000 to 2018, the island has been flooded 22 days total," he said. 

Tergin said the project has the potential to be a part of major redevelopment for tourism in the city.

"We're the only city in the country that has a state capitol, a river, and a state prison," she said. "The goal is that the bridge to Adrian's Island will eventually tie into the former state penitentiary."

Gilbert said, once there has been enough money raised for the project, it would take about a year to complete. Bernskoetter said the plan is to have the bridge completed before the state celebrates its bicentennial in 2021.