ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- All that’s left in the nearly four year new Mississippi River bridge project is to move the barrels and barricades in Missouri and Illinois to let the cars and trucks roll. The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is projected to open to vehicle traffic Sunday, February 9, around Noon.
The project’s directors say the bridge is relative bargain, even with a more than half-billion dollar price tag. It’s a $229 million bridge, a $700 million project in all. Even though the weather threw them a bit of a curve, the project’s directors say, it’s ready.
“It is a testament to engineering. We have the Eads bridge from about 140 years ago. We`re hopeful that this will be here at least that long if not longer.” said IDOT Project Engineer Jeffrey Church. “You know what happened Friday morning, with the accident on the Missouri side we had that backup. It shows the need for the new bridge.”
This is one of 37 separate projects in the over-all task of giving Interstate 70 its own crossing over the Mississippi River while still connecting it to the three interstates it used to meet at the Poplar Street Bridge.
The new bridge is pleasing to the eye, on-time, and under budget.
“We just didn’t pick this type of design because it was pretty. We picked it because it was the most economical and it just happens to be very nice looking as well. $229 million — typically in a project of this scale you’re looking at about 2% overruns, about $4-$5 million. Right now we’re $100,000 under that amount,” said Bridge Project Director Randy Hitt.
It’s going to take a little bit of synchronizing from workers on both sides of the river but the project’s directors say, by noon Sunday, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will be open for cars and trucks.