Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge | St. Louis Public Radio

Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge

The mural takes shape on the Cotton Belt building.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

An abandoned building with broken windows may seem nothing more than an ugly blemish. But to a mural artist, it’s a beautiful opportunity, a waiting canvas.

Two St. Louis muralists are nearing completion of the first phase of their project to transform the vacant Cotton Belt Freight Depot into a kind of welcome sign for commuters heading into St. Louis on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Kristi Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

The construction of the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge took several years to complete - but now you can watch it happen in just minutes.

The Missouri Department of Transportation posted these neat timelapse videos (see below) of the construction on its Facebook page Friday.

From two different angles, the videos show the creation of another link for the St. Louis region - even if it's not a bridge you travel much yet -- and the passing of the seasons. 

Commuters Slow To Adapt To New Bridge

Feb 16, 2014
Kristi Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Commuters are taking a while to warm up to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River.

Traffic on the bridge, which carries I-70 north of downtown St. Louis, is estimated to reach 40,000 vehicles a day eventually. But after an initial spike, the bridge saw traffic volume of about 28,000 vehicles a day during its first week of regular use.

Joseph Monroe with the Illinois Department of Transportation says engineers expect it to take some time for motorists to change their routine.

Kristi Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

  • Construction began in April 2010.
  • The bridge cost came in at $670 million including land acquisition, utility relocation and construction
  • The total bridge span has 16.367 million pounds of structural steel and 12 million pounds of reinforcing steel.

Area residents will have a rare chance Saturday to see the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge up close before it officially opens to vehicle traffic on Sunday.

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.

(New Mississippi River Bridge Project Facebook page)

The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River is slated to open early next year.

As part of St. Louis Public Radio's series of reports on the region's aging infrastructure called "How We Move," Julie Bierach spoke with Jerry Blair with the East-West Gateway Council about how the $667 million bridge will impact travel in the St. Louis region.

She began by asking him when they started planning for a new bridge.

(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. 

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

On Monday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn paid a visit to the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in East St. Louis.

Quinn said the bridge will reduce congestion and pollution and praised the jobs the project has created. He also hopes the project nurtures a positive relationship between Missouri and Illinois.

An aerial photo of the new bridge under construction in April 2013.
MODOT | Flickr

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Bridging the gap between Missouri and Illinois in more ways than one, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have voted to name the new Mississippi River bridge at St. Louis after both Stan Musial and the nation’s veterans.

Commentary: No better name: The Stan Musial Bridge

Mar 18, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most storied franchises in all of baseball and their accomplishments are among the best in the Major Leagues. With 11 World Series titles, 18 National League Pennants and the likes of Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Red Schoendienst, the Cardinals have always been a world-class organization.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – A bill to name the new Interstate 70 bridge across the Mississippi River the “Stan Musial Memorial Bridge” has been approved by the U.S. Senate but has not yet made it out of a committee on the House side of the Capitol.

The Senate passed the bill, backed by all four senators from Missouri and Illinois, by unanimous consent late on Monday. The lawmakers praised the vote in a joint statement on Tuesday.

A similar House bill backed by U.S. Reps. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, has not yet been approved by the Transportation committee.

A spokesman for Davis said Tuesday that the freshman congressman – now the region’s only lawmaker on the transportation panel – planned to redouble his efforts to get approval for the bill to name the new span after Stan the Man, who died in January at age 92.

“There’s nobody I’d rather see welcoming folks into St. Louis than our hometown hero, Stan Musial,” said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., after the Senate vote.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, praised the St. Louis Cardinal All-Star as “a true hero to so many Americans, both on and off the field.” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said naming the bridge after Musial “would be a fitting honor to a great American hero and the values he stood for.”

And U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said Musial “gave his all to the St. Louis and Metro East region and this is just one small way we can honor that legacy.”