Lewis Bridge debate continues in St. Louis County

CLAYTON, MO – A proposal to move forward with the first steps of replacing the crumbling Lewis Road Bridge in St. Louis County was sent back to committee by the St. Louis County Council Tuesday night.  St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said the bridge desperately needs to be replaced.

MoDOT has given the bridge a rating of 2% based on a 100% scale.  First responders have said they won’t travel the bridge unless there’s an emergency.  Stenger said the bridge spans rail lines where hazardous materials are periodically transported.

“Each day that goes by is another day that this bridge, which is crumbling over a railroad, poses more danger to the public,” said Stenger.

Council members did not discuss their concerns about the project during the council meeting but some spoke privately about why they’re not ready to support the plan.  Some members feel a new bridge would primarily benefit a business man owning a mansion and golf course on the other side of the bridge.  They feel he should help pay for a new bridge.

It’s been reported that the business owner has been a political backer of Stenger but the County Executive says the bridge had been identified for repairs well before he took office.

“I think that this is election year politics at its worst,” said Stenger.

He said a federal grant worth $750,000 has already been approved for repairs and said the money would not be available if the county fails to move forward on plans for a new bridge.

The council did approve a plan to begin the process of replacing the Allen Road. Bridge.  Both bridges are in the Eureka area of unincorporated St. Louis County.