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story.lead_photo.caption In this June 5, 2019 photo, floodwaters cover the bridge over Wears Creek on Dunklin Street, halting progress on a project to replace the deteriorating structure. Meanwhile, construction equipment is seen continuing to work on Dunklin near Broadway Street. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

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If the water in Wears Creek doesn't start to go down in the next few weeks, the schedule for improvements to be done on an area of Dunklin Street will be drastically affected, city officials say.

Earlier this year, the Jefferson City Council and Cole County Commission approved a $2.6 million project to replace a bridge, add bike lanes, a sidewalk and greenway, as well as improve the stormwater and sanitary sewer system.

The project, which is being funded by the city's and county's capital improvement sales tax and the city's sewer enterprise fund, is being done by Don Schnieders Construction.

Part of the project was completed before the flooding began in late May, Jefferson City Engineer David Bange said.

"We were able to get the sanitary sewer lines built before the water came up," Bange said. "This was in the 400 block of Dunklin around Warehouse Tire. The sewer improvement go up toward Broadway Street, and we'll also being doing another piece in front of Family Pawn, which extends to the old St. Mary's parking lot, which is now owned by the Farmer brothers."

Bange said the stormwater work is on hold in the 400 block of Dunklin because they need Wears Creek to be dry.

"Right now, there's 15-18 feet of water in the creek, and it has to go a long way down to allow us to get the stormwater pipe in," Bange said.

The new bridge will be a single-span steel girder bridge and will be 90 feet long and 56 feet wide, containing two lanes of traffic.

The street from the bridge to Broadway will be 38 feet wide, with a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the western side of Missouri Boulevard to Broadway. A greenway will extend along the eastern side from Missouri Boulevard to Mulberry Street, with the remaining distance to Broadway being a 5-foot-wide sidewalk.

"The bridge is the last phase of the project, but there again, we need to have the water come down to allow access to the bank and creek," Bange said. "If the water goes down in the next month, the contractor has the ability to pull in more people to help, and we could probably get the work done by the currently scheduled completion date of Nov. 27. But, if it's another two months, there will probably be a delay in the completion."

As work continues on road and bridge repairs on Dunklin, infrastructure work has also been taking place below the street. Curtis Wheat, senior supervisor of Jefferson City for Missouri American Water, said the flooding in the area has probably delayed them from completing their work by another two weeks.

In the spring, Missouri American began work on a new water main at Missouri Boulevard and Dunklin Street, as the mains in the area are nearly 100 years old. Crews have been replacing 2,500 feet of water main and upsizing the main from 8- to 10-inch pipes with new 12-inch pipes to increase the capacity. This main connects to a 16-inch main at Jefferson Street and Dunklin, which is a main artery for the Missouri American system in Jefferson City.

"We have to do some testing on some of the new piping, and when that's done, we should have the project completed," Wheat said.

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