Mississippi River Bridge
3:20 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Look: Structural Work Completed On New 'Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge'

Updated 3:43 p.m. and 3:53 p.m.

Three and a half years after the project began, the structural work is done on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River.

Members of Ironworkers Local 396 maneuvered the 30,000-pound steel girder into place on Friday, officially connecting the $667 million bridge that will carry Interstate 70 over the river.

Watch its last few movements:

The beam's placement was an important moment for the project, says manager Randy Hitt with the Missouri Department of Transportation. But it also showed off some impressive engineering and construction.

"This is called cantilever construction, where you build both sides and meet in the middle, and 1,500 feet to get it dead on is a testament to the good design and good construction that our contractors performed out here," he said.

And while Hitt called it an important moment to celebrate, plenty of work remains to get the bridge ready for traffic in 2014.

"There's a two-inch concrete overlay on the top of the deck yet, and we’ve also got painting of the towers, electrical work, barrier walls, a lot of miscellaneous work, so we’re going to be hard at it next week to finish it out," Hitt said.

He says despite delays caused by floods and droughts since 2010, the project is on time and on budget.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann