Mississippi River Bridge

trains, freight trains
(Flicker)

Civic and business leaders say the St. Louis region has to be ready to capitalize on an expected increase in freight across the United States.

It was the topic of conversation at the St. Louis Regional Transportation Forum on Thursday in Collinsville.

"St. Louis stands in a very good position to expand its capabilities, expand our economy and expand our jobs in the St. Louis region," said John Nations, president and CEO of the Bi-State Development Agency/Metro.

Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Thousands walked above the icy Mississippi River Saturday as governors, senators and U.S. representatives from Illinois and Missouri cut the ribbon on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

The $230 million, cable-stayed structure is the culmination of a decades-long effort to relieve congestion on the nearby Poplar Street and Martin Luther King Bridges.

Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

When something new is built, it can sometimes uncover something old. Such was the case with the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge opening Sunday. During construction of the new bridge across the Mississippi River, the remains of an ancient American Indian settlement was discovered hidden below East St. Louis.

Kristi Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

After four years under construction and more than a decade of planning, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will open for traffic Sunday, February 9. And when the bridge opens, so does another option for drivers making the commute across the Mississippi.

“What we anticipate is about 20 percent of the traffic coming off Poplar Street, about 50 percent coming off MLK/Eads,” Randy Hitt of the Missouri Department of Transportation said.

(via official MoDOT Mississippi River Bridge Facebook page)

Commuters, start your engines. The Missouri Department of Transportation has announced that the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will be open to traffic starting on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014.

Commonly known by some as the 'Stan Span,' the bridge has been under construction since 2010. The name of the bridge was made official in July, and was a compromise between Missouri and Illinois lawmakers.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Scared of heights? Luckily for us, and for you, our Rachel Lippmann isn't.

On Thursday, Rachel got a tour up (and inside) the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, which will carry Interstate 70 across the Mississippi River.

Enjoy the views - without any of the risk. 

(Erin Williams/St. Louis Public Radio)

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:

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt) (Image has been cropped)

President Barack Obama has signed legislation designating the new Interstate 70 bridge connecting St. Louis and southwestern Illinois over the Mississippi River as the "Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge."

The name is a compromise between Missouri lawmakers who wanted to honor the late St. Louis Cardinals great and Illinois lawmakers who wanted to name the bridge in honor of military veterans.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt) (Image has been cropped)

Missouri is naming its side of a new Mississippi River span the "Stan Musial Memorial Bridge" for the late St. Louis Cardinals great.

But the state might not have the exclusive naming rights. Federal legislation approved by Congress and awaiting action by President Barack Obama names it the "Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge." That name represents a compromise between Missouri lawmakers who wanted to honor Musial and Illinois lawmakers who wanted to honor military veterans.

via MoDOT's Flickr

Illinois representatives wanted a veterans memorial bridge. Missouri representatives wanted a bridge named after Cardinals legend Stan Musial. The compromise would likely seem obvious to anyone outside of a gridlocked Washington: combine the two.

Illinois Representative Rodney Davis (R) sponsored a bill to name the new I-70 bridge the "Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge." The name compromise passed the House Tuesday evening with overwhelming support.

(New Mississippi River Bridge Project Facebook page)

Add the New Mississippi River Bridge to the list of elements in the region affected by the most recent round of flooding.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and labor unions have signed off on an agreement that sets requirements for state-funded bridge and road projects.

Union and church leaders met with Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider at the new Mississippi River Bridge Wednesday, celebrating the new Project Labor Agreement that will set standards for minority and female participation.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

A national-level effort to name the new Mississippi River Bridge after late St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial is one step closer to law.

U.S. Senators passed the legislation unanimously on Tuesday and mirrors several state-level initiatives

The Senate measure will now move on to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

Missouri Department of Transportation

The Missouri Department of Transportation has released some new photos of construction workers installing the massive cables on the new Mississippi River Bridge. The process of installing those cables is expected to take about a year to complete.

Rethinking St. Louis Highways

Nov 29, 2012
Congress for New Urbanism

The creation of the new I-70 bridge over the Mississippi just north of downtown has created renewed interest in a plan to remove the part of I-70 that currently runs through downtown.

John Norquist is the President of the Congress for New Urbanism, where he champions a growing movement encouraging cities to tear down their freeways. 

Norquist gave a talk at Washington University entitled “Rethinking Our Streets: The Value of Flexible Street Design”

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Mo. traffic fatalities continue climbing

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says traffic deaths are taking a troubling turn upward this year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says through Sept. 4, 554 people had died on Missouri roads, compared to 498 over the same period in 2011. Fatalities in 2011 reached their lowest total since the 1940s.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Crews building the new span across the Mississippi River north of downtown St. Louis have hit an important project milestone - the completion of the twin 400-foot towers. Within a week, workers will start stringing cables from the towers to support the 1,500-foot main span.

"This is great," said project manager Greg Horn with the Missouri Department of Transportation. "These towers were one of the big things we had to get done."

There's no easy part of the project this massive, Horn said, but crews are feeling a sense of relief.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Plans to re-route Interstate 70 over the new Mississippi River Bridge are facing a roadblock from stakeholders in the Metro East. The $55 million project includes eliminating the east-bound ramp that connects Interstates 70 and 44 to the Poplar Street Bridge.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern told the East-West Gateway Council of Governments Wednesday that cutting access to the bridge would strangle an already struggling economy.

(Missouri Department of Transportation website)

Updated at 9 am to correct the name of the worker.

Updated at 11:45 p.m.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that divers have recovered the body of the carpenter, who East St. Louis police identified to the paper as Aaron Andy Gammon. The paper says Gammon was still tethered to the aerial lift that plunged into the water on Wednesday.

(david_shane)

Mo. Senator accuses state labor department of improperly manipulating wages with unions

A top Missouri Senate leader says the state labor department is improperly working with unions to manipulate wages paid on public works projects. The state calculates an annual "prevailing wage" for various construction trades in each county based on surveys of wages already paid on jobs.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, a Republican from Dexter, said Wednesday that state bureaucrats and labor unions had engaged in what he called "collusion.

(Missouri Department of Transportation website)

Updated at 10:05 p.m.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, quoting East St. Louis Police chief Michael Floore, says the missing worker has tentatively been identified as 35-year-old Andy Gammon of Park Hills, Mo., which is about 65 miles south of St. Louis. The Post-Dispatch says investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are on scene to investigate.

(via Missouri Department of Transportation)

The new Mississippi Bridge Project  is facing a new obstacle. The Metro East Black Contractors Organization is suing to stop the Illinois Department of Transportation from handing out more contracts on the $760 million project until discrimination issues are addressed.

The organization says they aren't getting their fair share of work on the project. The group's attorney Eric Vickers says in addition to an injunction on awarding more contracts, the new lawsuit calls for IDOT to pay $650 million in damages.

(via Flickr/ConspiracyofHappiness)

Cardinals lose Game 1 of NLCS

View I-70 Downtown Closure - Oct. 6-12 2011 in a larger map

A map of the closure area can be seen above.

Heading to the Roger Daltry concert at the Peabody or the Blues' opening game this weekend? Or were you thinking of cruising around downtown for any other reason from Oct. 6-12? Well, if your travel plans include using Interstate 70 between 10th St. and the Poplar Street Bridge, we offer the friendly suggestion to find an alternate route.

(Courtesy of MoDOT)

The Missouri Department of Transportation and its contractor Millstone Bangert Inc. will permanently close the exit ramp 249A from eastbound Interstate 70 to 10th Street in St. Louis City at  9  a.m. October 10, 2011.

The ramp will be removed permanently so crews can construct roadway and ramps between I-70 and the new Mississippi River Bridge. The new ramps to the bridge will cross directly over the current location of the 10th Street exit ramps.

Drivers can use Broadway exit 250A to get into the city.

Photo courtesy of MoDOT

Workers threaten to shut down construction on Mississippi River bridge

A group that's trying to get more construction jobs for minority workers says it'll shut down work on a new Mississippi River bridge near St. Louis. The Metro East Black Contractors Organization says it's meeting with the director of the Illinois Department of Transportation on Friday. The group says it'll shut down work on Monday if the meeting isn't satisfactory.

St. Louis Science Center to reduce number of VPs

(photo courtesy of MoDOT)

The moderate flooding along the Mississippi River at St. Louis is costing crews building the piers for the new bridge a couple of days of work a week.

MoDOT project manager Greg Horn said workers are still out on the piers six days a week, 20 hours a day. But the flooding - the river is about five feet above flood stage - means crews can only work at about 60 percent efficiency.

Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation say work on the Poplar Street Bridge will start this spring and continue into the fall.

The work will involve resurfacing the bridge deck and will result in lane closures and traffic delays.

Deanna Venker is an area engineer for MoDOT.  She says the work could not be delayed until the completion of the new Mississippi River bridge in 2014.

(Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio)

Crews working on the new Mississippi River Bridge have gotten the $640 million project back on track.

Flooding meant that for the months of May, June, and July, it wasn't safe for crews to be working below the water line, says project manager Greg Horn. That wiped out 81 construction days.