City of Monroe approves design contract for MLK Jr. Memorial Footbridge

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The City of Monroe's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Footbridge is pictured in this Monroe News File Photo.
The City of Monroe's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Footbridge is pictured in this Monroe News File Photo.

The City of Monroe's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Footbridge could soon receive a much-needed face-lift.

On Tuesday, Monroe City Council unanimously approved a professional services contract with the Fishbeck consulting firm for design work related to the planned overhaul of the 34-year-old pedestrian bridge, which connects Saint Mary's Park with the Riverwalk and Riverfront Parking Lot.

The city has been discussing this project since late last year. The bridge, while still structurally safe, has seen very little in the way of substantial maintenance since it was installed in 1988. Beyond repairing what already exists, council's goal for the project is to modify the bridge so that it is both more aesthetically pleasing and in compliance, where possible, with the Americans Disabilities Act.

In council's agenda fact sheet regarding this action item, City Manager Vince Pastue said that the city's engineering department has been engaged with Fishbeck engineers since planning on the MLK Jr. Memorial Footbridge project first began. The city has extensive knowledge of the firm, having worked with them on previous bridge rehabilitation projects on Roessler and Winchester Streets.

"...They have a strong track record of unique and creative lighting schemes, which were believed to be an important element of any future project at this location," Pastue wrote. "...While the exact scope and type of lighting project will be selected after concept-level design, they are very capable of meeting the city's goals to provide a dramatic feature in the heart of our downtown..."

The total estimated cost for the design phase of the project is $82,000, and includes the final design of all bridge and sidewalk/ramp elements, and a concept level design for the new lighting package for the bridge. Pastue noted in the agenda fact sheet that additional costs will be required once a lighting design is selected, and any other additional costs will be included in that amendment.

City council appropriated a total of $100,000 for the rehabilitation of the bridge as part of the city's 2022-23 Capital Improvements Program (CIP).

"We've had conversations about this project in previous work sessions, and I thought the information (from city administration) was detailed," Monroe Mayor Robert Clark said Tuesday. "The information from Fishbeck was great, and of course they've done great work with us in the past as well."

This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: City of Monroe approves design contract for MLK Jr. Footbridge