Rod Harsh walks along a low-water overpass over Shoal Creek on Monday afternoon. Globe | Roger Nomer

February 20, 2016 - Essential Water

When Rod Harsh was a boy, his relatives would take him to a low-water overpass that spans Shoal Creek in McIndoe Park.

“We would come here in a summer. This is where we schooled to float with my brother, Larry,’’ he said. “I’m certain I’m not a usually chairman who has that kind of story with this park.’’

As Harsh talks, dual bicyclists zip opposite a low-slung bridge. They are followed by dual cars as another automobile on a other side waits for them to pass. Everyone takes their spin on this one-lane bridge. It’s been that proceed for scarcely 100 years.

“There are 3 pieces to this park,’’ Harsh pronounced final week. “There’s a scenery, a overpass and a river. You take divided any one of them and we will perpetually change what creates this park such a pleasing park.’’

But a slight bridge, that carries adult to 800 vehicles a day, has countless problems. There are no guardrails, it floods creation it impassible, and a 2014 investigation found that a rug and superstructure are in bad condition. The city of Joplin is overseeing a engineering proviso of an estimated $3 million devise to reinstate it.

Harsh is endangered that a city, by manufacture a larger, towering overpass by a heart of a park, will destroy a view.

“A new, complicated ‘replacement’ overpass will spoil a beauty of a park, meddle with a Audubon hiking trails, revoke skill values for a circuitously homeowners, retard scenic views and emanate some-more trade noise,’’ Harsh said. “We don’t wish to see that happen.’’

Harsh has launched a “Save a Low-Water Bridge’’ devise and has started an online petition. So far, he has amassed some-more than 600 signatures. The petition can be accessed around a “Save a Low-Water Bridge’’ Facebook page.

“We’re anticipating for 5,000 signatures by Jun 1,’’ he said. “They need to leave a low-water overpass usually as it is. It would stay as a walking overpass that would bond a trails on both sides of a park.’’

Harsh favors a new overpass for car trade on aloft belligerent on a easterly side of McIndoe Park, closer to a Interstate 44 bridges that camber Shoal Creek. He has presented an aerial sketch to a city that depicts where a new overpass competence be assembled upstream from a park as an choice site.

Some wish it removed

The city of Joplin has not selected a site for a bridge, nonetheless after a assembly final year with skill owners who live nearby a bridge, utterly those who live in Grand Falls Plaza, some pronounced they came divided with an sense a low-water overpass would be private and transposed with a new, incomparable overpass in a same location.

“Yes, that was a plan,’’ pronounced Bob Neal, who lives along Riverside Drive, that leads to Grand Falls. “They told us they would build a new overpass where a aged one was since it would take reduction right of proceed to put it right behind where it was.’’

Neal pronounced he does not consider a low-water overpass should be saved. If it is left in place, he pronounced it would continue to collect logs and other waste during a flood. It would, in his opinion, sojourn an vulnerable proceed for people to cranky Shoal Creek if it were to be defended as a connector for a trails on both sides of a creek.

“I usually remonstrate with a thought that it should be saved,’’ he said. “This is my feeling about it: The overpass has served a usefulness. It’s like perplexing to stop progress.’’

Neal pronounced a people who wish to save a overpass “probably don’t even use a park. How many times a year do they try to cranky this bridge? I’m not opposite a park. we know that a city park belongs to everybody. The park will still be there. The new overpass will give us a proceed to span opposite a rivulet in a protected way. It will have a corridor for people.’’

Neal also pronounced he does not establish with a evidence that a larger, towering two-lane overpass would adversely impact a beauty of a park.

“We wish it safer and better. A new overpass would be a good thing for everybody involved,’’ he said.

37,000 route visits

Harsh pronounced he also believes a new overpass would be a good thing, nonetheless not as a deputy for a low-water bridge. He pronounced refuge also would discharge a cost of demolishing a low-water bridge. He pronounced a low-water overpass now is used frequently by walkers and bicyclists going from one side of a park to a other, as good as by vehicles.

Last year, route counters compared with a Wildcat Glades Conservation Audubon Center logged 37,000 visits.

The city invited Neal and about 100 other skill owners to a assembly in Aug during Mercy Hospital Joplin. The assembly was what Dan Salisbury, partner executive of open works for a city, described as a “scoping-type’’ meeting. The organisation of residents, he said, came adult with a proceed of replacing a aged overpass with a new one in a same location.

“And they wanted it as high as they could get it with a appropriation that is available. The aged overpass would come out,” Salisbury pronounced after that meeting.

Harsh pronounced it is clearly critical to get a views of those many impacted by a project, nonetheless he noted: “This is a city park that belongs to everybody.’’

A assembly where supporters of a bid to safety a overpass could voice their concerns was to be hold on Apr 6 during Mercy Hospital Joplin, nonetheless that has been deferred since a city has encountered a problem.

“We have not been means to find a existent FEMA inundate information for that area. FEMA has been incompetent to yield that,’’ he said. “We competence have to reconstruct that information as partial of a project. That could check open involvement.’’

Salisbury pronounced a inundate information is indispensable by a city’s engineering firm, Allgeier, Martin Associates, to range out a probability of choice sites.

“We have to have that information to establish a hydraulics of that area. It is essential for this devise to go forward,’’ he said. “We listened from residents out there after a large sleet in December. They wish to urge a hydraulics of that area and have a overpass as high as they can get it.’’

Harsh said, “The people who live in a area have had a possibility on dual occasions to voice their opinions. We have not been means to do that. We have been betrothed that we will be means to put onward what we wish to see occur in a park.’’

Salisbury also pronounced that gripping a 138-foot low-water overpass in place creates another emanate in that it can trap brush that washes downstream.

“The idea is to pass as most H2O as probable underneath a overpass during a flood. Having a aged overpass there complicates that since waste gets trapped in a low-water bridge, and that can means H2O to behind up,” he said.

But Harsh and his supporters have consulted with an eccentric highway engineer, Bill Cary, who pronounced withdrawal a low-water overpass in place would not benefaction an snag to relocating H2O possibly over or underneath a new bridge.

Salisbury pronounced a city intends to accommodate with both groups and “work by it.’’

Neal also pronounced a city’s engineers are doing surveys in a area.

“They have surveyed everything,’’ he said. “They have noted off 3 or 4 opposite avenues where a overpass competence go, including one that is easterly of a park.’’

Neal pronounced he was carefree that a new overpass with a aloft betterment where a low-water overpass is now located would need a aloft betterment for Riverside Drive, that would assistance defense a tiny resolution from destiny flooding.

“After a inundate in December, it was 3 days before we could get out. We had to cranky a fields in four-wheel drives,’’ he said. “The overpass has got to be utterly a bit aloft since we won’t be means to get to it since of a H2O over a road.’’

Harsh pronounced a Save a Low-Water Bridge cabinet was shaped in Nov to see that a ancestral overpass is recorded during slightest for walking use, and he pronounced a cabinet skeleton to contention a petition to a Newton County Commission and a Joplin City Council.

Alan Cook, a Newton County commissioner, pronounced final week, “Our impasse is a appropriation only, nonetheless we are operative with a city of Joplin. They are promulgation us emailed communications about a project. If we were to accept a petition, we would substantially brazen that to a city of Joplin, nonetheless we competence turn concerned during some point. The petition would be a open family form of activity that a city would handle.’’

The commission, he said, is staying out of a tangible engineering.

An agreement with Newton County calls for a county to yield $2.025 million amassed from a annual share of $225,000 of Missouri Department of Transportation funds. The county also will obtain a easements and rights of proceed indispensable for a construction. It also helped name a engineering firm. Joplin will compensate a share of a construction cost adult to $973,000.

Salisbury pronounced there is no cost tab nonetheless on what it competence cost to mislay a low-water bridge. Also different is how most it competence cost to squeeze a rights of proceed for a approaches to a new overpass should a aged overpass be preserved.

Salisbury pronounced a overpass deputy is a committed devise that will be funded, in part, by a city’s sales taxation for infrastructure improvements that was authorized by Joplin electorate in Aug 2014. The overpass is to be rebuilt by 2018.

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