By Matt Sepic, KWMU
Venice, Ill. – The McKinley Bridge that connects Venice, Ill. to North St. Louis could reopen in three years.
Monday, Metro East officials announced a plan to buy the bridge from the city of Venice, and repay bondholders more than $4 million of debt. Madison and St. Clair Counties, along with the State of Illinois, will pay off the bonds.
Illinois Department of Transportation engineer Marie Lamie says the state can now take bids for repair work, which will result in major changes for bridge users.
"The project will provide two lanes across the Mississippi River without tolls, and it will also provide accommodations for both pedestrians and bicyclists," Lamie said.
Officials estimate repairs to the 93-year-old structure will cost $40 million. Once open, Illinois and Missouri will share maintenance expenses.
The bridge has been closed since October, 2001 after it was deemed unsafe.