Crews getting close to finishing Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The bridge with the long name, The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, should be finished in relatively short order.

Construction crews expect to complete all the approaches by Thanksgiving.  Structural work on the bridge itself is already complete.

"It is like when you build a house," said MoDOT's Project Director Randy Hitt. "It looks like you are ready to move in, but there is a lot of electrical, plumbing and miscellaneous things before you can actually move in."

That's what it has come down to on the bridge.

Most of the remaining work is happening inside its massive towers, including very carefully cutting the upper ends of the three million feet of support cables.

"Now that all the final loading is done on the bridge, the tails, the extra piece where we (adjust the tension) will be trimmed off," Hitt said.

There has been lots of construction traffic on the bridge for a long time, but now that the pavement is finished, engineers recently brought two other vehicles aboard:  a Chevy Malibu and a Jeep.

"We wanted to make sure we had a good rideand we test it with instruments, but we also did the old fashioned way," Hitt said. "So we just drive across at the (55mph) with cars and verify we've got the ride we want and do any miscellaneous grinding in a few isolated areas."

The last thing to do to the roadway is paint the stripes, something they hope to do in a week or two, trying to beat the heavy winter weather.

Painting the rest of the bridge is doneand most of the lighting has been installed.

Once all the work inside the towers is complete, the last big job will be getting all the equipment off the bridge.

The bridge is expected to open by March 1.

Before they open the bridge to traffic however, MoDOT hopes to first open it for a weekend to the public to cross on foot so they can check out the details safely instead of while they are driving.

"It seems like just yesterday when we began," Hitt said. "We are getting close to the finish line."

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