Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider and other officials at the construction site of the newly-named Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge to get a progress report as preparations are made to place the final girder beam that will connect Illinois and Missouri. The project has created or supported more than 3,400 jobs within a record-breaking diverse workforce. The new bridge will provide congestion relief, improve safety and spur economic development across the region.
"We look forward to seeing the final beam that will connect two great states on this historic bridge project, enhancing safety and relieving congestion in the area," Governor Quinn said. "This bridge has already made a great impact by providing thousands of jobs and boosting economic activity in the region that will continue for many years to come. In addition, our weekly average of a 26 percent minority workforce far surpasses the federal requirement and sets a record for the Metro East."
On Friday, President Barack Obama signed legislation to officially name the bridge the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. The project is a joint undertaking by the Missouri and Illinois departments of transportation. Construction workers recently finished installing the cables on both sides of the bridge and are currently working on final preparations to close the gap at the center of the bridge.
The new bridge will have two traffic lanes in each direction with room to expand to three lanes. It will carry Interstate 70 traffic from Illinois to Missouri connecting I-70 from the I-55/I-64/I-70 interchange on the Illinois side to I-70 near Cass Avenue in Missouri. Construction began in 2009 and is expected to be complete by early 2014.
The Mississippi River Bridge is expected to reduce severe traffic congestion and vehicle crashes on the Poplar Street Bridge (PSB). Currently, the PSB carries combined traffic for Interstates 55, 64 and 70. In 2004, traffic counts on the PSB averaged between 115,000 and 125,000 vehicles daily.
"We are very excited for the many benefits this project will bring to this region, including a safer and faster commute for motorists," Secretary Schneider said. "Additionally, we are proud to see the progress on this bridge and thankful to the diverse group of trade workers, contractors and consulting engineers who have worked diligently to get the job done on schedule."
"This project has been a great benefit to the entire region. It has provided jobs and opportunities for many families, and I am pleased that it is proceeding on schedule," state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) said. "Improving our local infrastructure and ensuring that goods can flow easily through our region is crucial to strengthening the local economy."
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has awarded 32 construction contracts for the project totaling more than $261 million. Fifteen of these contracts are essentially completed. The Missouri Department of Transportation has awarded five construction contracts totaling more than $270 million, which includes the $229 million main span contract. Three of these contracts are completed.
In Illinois, the project has utilized 117 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise companies under contracts providing more than $114 million in engineering and construction services, totaling 18.8 percent of the awarded work. Since the start of the bridge project, minorities have made up a weekly average of 26 percent of the total workforce, a record rate of contract participation.
The estimated $708 million project is funded through a combination of federal and state funds, which includes $42 million from Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. Missouri contributed $66 million towards the project. To date, of the $14 billion in the Illinois Jobs Now! program dedicated for transportation needs through 2015, IDOT has awarded approximately 5,700 projects worth $13.57 billion, creating and supporting 170,000 jobs. These have included improvements to 7,205 miles of roadways and 1,170 bridges.