Eads Bridge Construction Starts

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Monday marked the beginning of lane closures on the Eads Bridge.  The closures are part of a construction project slated for completion in the fall of 2015.
 
The Eads Bridge is not the most heavily trafficked in St. Louis, so traffic delays are not a significant concern.  However, it is the oldest bridge connecting Illinois and St. Louis, and the project’s goal is to ensure the landmark lasts long into the future.
 
Describing the Eads Bridge, St. Louis Metro Director of Communications Dianne Williams says, “It is a point of pride for St. Louis, and in fact it was St. Louis’s icon before we built the arch.”
 
It was the first steel bridge ever built in the U.S., and the longest arch bridge in the world.  Now, 138 years later, the revolutionary Eads Bridge is undergoing its first full restoration.
 
Williams explains, “We’re taking this 138 year-old bridge and getting it ready to stand the test of time for another half century.”
 
Throughout the three-year project, overseen by Metro, workers will strip more than one hundred years-worth of paint and rust.  Then they’ll protect the bare metal with a primer to prevent rust, before applying the top-coat.  
 
It’s a process Williams admits can be dangerous. She says dozens of safety measures are in place to keep workers safe: “What you can see now is boats in the river, making sure they protect the people working on the outside of that bridge from any injuries or falling.”
 
Throughout the project, one lane in each direction will remain open, and Metrolink service will see few, if any, interruptions.
 
The project will cost roughly $36 million.  Thirty-four million of that will be covered by federal grants and stimulus funds.

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