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.
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.
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.
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.
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.