Mississippi River Bridge to open early next year

News-DemocratJune 12, 2013 

The new Mississippi River Bridge and intertwining roadways merging onto it are on pace for next year's scheduled opening.

When will the bridge open?

By January or February of next year, said Illinois Department of Transportation District 8 Project Implementation Engineer Jeff Church. He said the span crossing the river that has been gradually extending westward and eastward is expected to meet by next month.

What metro-east roadways are being reconstructed to lead to the new bridge?

The project includes a new interchange at Interstate 55-70 and Interstate 64. Church said on the Illinois side, there are 32 individual projects associated with the bridge construction, of which 17 have been completed.

How is construction impacting traffic?

Church said traffic restrictions will remain throughout the remainder of construction with some overnight closures as steel is erected to support the new interchanges. "We're asking drivers to have patience as they drive through the area. We want to make sure the consumers are driving and not sight-seeing," he said.

How much is this costing?

The total cost is $704 million, which is higher than the initially estimated $670 million price. Church said the added cost came from additional utility relocation and construction of a new interchange at Illinois 3 and relocating Interstate 70.

When was the last time a new bridge was built over the river connecting the metro-east with downtown St. Louis?

The bridge is the first to be built in more than 40 years between the metro-east to downtown St. Louis, since the Poplar Street Bridge opened to traffic.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 618-239-2526.

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