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Fewer drivers than expected are using a new Mississippi River bridge downtown.
The new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge carries Interstate 70 over the river between Illinois and Missouri. It had been projected to reduce traffic by as much as 50 percent of the Eads and Martin Luther King Bridges, and by 20 percent on the Poplar Street Bridge.
But that hasn't happened. KMOV-TV reports that data shows that since the Stan Span opened in February, the Eads Bridge has seen a decline of about 25 percent, and King Bridge traffic has dropped about 40 percent, but traffic on the Poplar is down only 7 percent.
Transportation officials say part of the issue is that traffic is up about 7 percent overall on all of the downtown bridges.
Motorists are reporting some confusing signs around one of the approaches to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
For the morning rush hour, drivers from the Illinois side on Interstate 70 noticed a closed sign over the exit for the bridge, even though the Stan Span is officially open. Some GPS units are not recognizing the bridge yet--although it appears Google Maps has updated to include the bridge.
Transportation officials are still optimistic and say the bridge will reduce traffic on the Poplar Street each morning by about 20 percent.
Good news for commuters who cross the Mississippi River frequently.
The new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is set to open on February 9. The Stan Span has been under construction since 2010. Workers connected the two sides of the bridge in July. The bridge comes with a price tag of around $230 million and is part of the larger $700 million Mississippi River Bridge Project.
The Stan Span will carry I-70 over the river.
Monday is the first morning commute since Illinois transportation crews closed a key stretch of Interstate 64.
All lanes of eastbound I-64 are closed between the I-55/70 split and 25th Street. And it's scheduled to remain closed until next Monday morning (Sept. 23).
The closure will allow crews to build connections to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. IDOT reports that the new bridge across the Mississippi River is on track to open early next year (2014).
The next phase of work on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will require a heavily traveled interstate to be shut down for more than a week.
At 9 p.m. Friday, Illinois transportation crews plan to close eastbound I-64 from the I-55/70 split to 18th Street. It's expected to remain closed until 9 a.m. on Monday, September 23rd.
IDOT officials say the closure is necessary so that crews can build ramps to the new bridge, and drivers should expect long delays until the work is done.
The primary detour is eastbound on I-55/70 to I-255 south, which will add five-to-ten minutes during off-peak hours. Drivers who can avoid the area over the next nine days are advised to do so.
The new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge at St. Louis has passed a major milestone with the final piece of the deck in place.
Workers placed a 30,000-pound floor beam between edge girders on the Mississippi River crossing, the last remaining 10-foot gap on the bridge. MoDOT said it was the last piece of structural steel for the bridge, which is expected to open early next year. Remaining work includes finishing approaches on both sides of the river, and some work on the bridge itself.
The $670 million bridge is being built with a combination of federal money and funds from Missouri and Illinois.
Illinois officials gathered on the approach ramp of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge this afternoon to get a progress report on the newest Mississippi River crossing.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says the bridge project has created thousands of jobs and boosted economic activity in the region. Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says there has also been an effort to maintain a high level of diversity on the project.
"For the duration of this project we've been at between 23 and 24 percent for minority participation on this bridge and last week we're at 25 percent minority participation on this bridge", says Schneider, "That is huge."
The bridge was slated to be finished next July, but building is ahead of schedule and could be completed as early as March.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - 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.
Governor Jay Nixon signed Missouri's legislation Wednesday. It also names part of a highway for construction worker Andy Gammon, who died while building the new Mississippi River bridge.
Missouri's legislation also names an existing St. Louis bridge for former Congressman William Clay, who won the first of 16 U.S. House terms in 1968.