VENICE, IL. – A celebration Thursday morning marks the completion of the rebuild of the Merchants Railroad bridge just north of downtown St. Louis. 

That celebration culminated with a ribbon cutting for what is being called the grand reopening of the Merchants Bridge. The bridge has actually remained open for most all of the project but it’s still being branded as a reopening because of the bridge’s new increased capacity. 

Construction has been ongoing for the past four years on this massive $222 million project. In fact, we’re told rebuilding the Merchants Bridge has been the top freight infrastructure priority for the region since 2016. 

Before the rebuild, only one train could cross the bridge at a time due to load restrictions over the bridge which was originally built back in 1890. However, this project has doubled the bridge’s capacity – meaning two freight trains can be on it at the same time. 

“Having both tracks open you’re now going to be able to move more trains at the same time,” Director of Corporate Affairs for the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis Asim Raza expalined. “It’s going to double the capacity of the bridge. It’s going to go from 32, 35 trains a day all the way up to about 70. So you’ll see a much more fluid gateway here in St. Louis which will allow for less traffic and less congestion on the road.”

That is the group which owns the bridge. We’re told the rebuilt bridge will provide a viable alternative to larger and more congested rail hubs like Chicago.