COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia Parks and Recreation officials announced on Friday that crews have completed the bridge replacement work on the MKT Trail.
The work began on Nov. 27 and was expected to be finished by March 31, but was completed earlier.
Officials said three bridges were replaced, which resulted in a closure of a quarter-mile section of the trail. The quarter-mile section and the access point at the Stadium Boulevard trailhead were reopened on Friday.
The project was funded by the voter-approved Park Sales Tax and a Recreational Trails Program grant.
Mike Snyder with Columbia Parks and Recreation said the work by Pioneer Bridges and Boone Construction to build and install the bridges helped them open the trail ahead of schedule. Snyder said Boone Construction's ability to maneuver through the narrow area to both demolish the old bridges and set the new bridges sped up the process.
"There's a lot of staging and and planning that enabled the contractor to get the work done in such a quick fashion," Snyder said.
Snyder said the closure of the trail was not an easy decision, but allowed crews to test the bridges for safety concerns and smooth out the trail. Contractors had all three bridges in place last week, and tests began to make sure they were safe. An on-site engineer tested the safety of the soil, rock and structure itself throughout the construction process.
"We would much rather have a systematic approach to replacing these old bridges than have a problem with a bridge and closing it down for a much longer period of time," Snyder said.
Snyder said the parks department would next replace Bridges #2 and #10. Construction would most likely occur after 2020, when city voters will decide whether or not to renew the park sales tax.