U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today joined Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn for the ribboncutting of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge on I-70. The bridge, which will open to traffic tomorrow, reflects how transportation can help create the economic opportunities President Obama spoke about in last week's State of the Union address. Approximately 80 percent of the construction costs for the $229.5 million project were from federal funds.
"This is more than a bridge -- it is a road to opportunity for the thousands of people in Illinois and Missouri who have long deserved a faster and safer way to get to work and home again," said Secretary Foxx. "Last week, President Obama said that"first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure,' and there is no bigger example than this first-class bridge of how transportation investments can help businesses and residents alike."
The new bridge will accommodate an estimated 40,000 daily drivers, a figure that is expected to grow to 55,000 per day by 2030. It relieves area congestion by redirecting I-70 traffic across the new bridge, leaving the Poplar Street Bridge to carry I-55 and I-64 traffic more safely and efficiently. The bridge is the largest of 37 projects comprising the $700 million New Mississippi River Bridge project.
Construction of the bridge began in 2010 and is considered a model of workforce diversity. Small, minority and women-owned businesses completed nearly 20 percent of the work, which is well above Missouri DOT's disadvantaged business goal of 13 percent and a record for the region. In addition, 22 percent of the project's skilled workforce were minorities -- another record high for the area and well beyond the project's goal of 14.7 percent.
"Missouri and Illinois should be applauded for their reliance on small and disadvantaged businesses throughout this project," said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau. "The project put people to work, eliminated a chokepoint along one of the nation's most important economic corridors, and helped strengthen small businesses on both sides of the Mississippi."
At 400 feet above the river, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is two-thirds the height of the neighboring Gateway Arch. With a total length of 2,770 feet, the new bridge will be the third-longest cable-stayed bridge in the United States, and among the top 50 in the world.
Designed to last more than 100 years, the new bridge is held in place by more than 3.4 million feet of stay-cable strand secured to two 405-foot-tall towers. To support the massive superstructure, footings comprised of six drilled-pier shafts are embedded deep into bedrock under the river. Workers placed more than 45,000 cubic yards of concrete during the bridge's construction, and nearly 10,000 tons of structural steel and 8,600 tons of reinforcing steel were used in the footings and towers.