Illinois OK's Funding For Poplar Street Bridge Changes
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has promised his state's share of the $80 million needed to widen and upgrade the Poplar Street Bridge.
The $25 million will cover the construction of a new ramp from the Martin Luther King bridge to Illinois Route 3, which will replace the Poplar Street Bridge exit from eastbound I-70 to eastbound I-64. Illinois officials opposed the demolition of that ramp, which threatened other upgrades to the bridge, including a third lane across the bridge for Interstate 64 and new exit ramps to westbound I-70 and southbound I-55.
The MLK connector was part of a compromise developed by an engineering firm at the request of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, which coordinates transportation funding for the region.
"Today's $25 million investment is an example of what we can achieve working together to improve life for the people of Illinois," Quinn said in a written statement.
Missouri will provide the remaining $55 million, which was already included in the region's long-term transportation plan. Construction would not start until after the new Mississippi River crossing north of downtown is finished.
Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann