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Eads Bridge modernization project to begin soon

The Eads Bridge was first opened to the public July 4, 1874.
Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio
The Eads Bridge was first opened to the public July 4, 1874.

Rehabilitation of the 138-year-old Eads Bridge is moving forward after two years of delays and ballooning project costs.

The project was to begin in 2009 with $24 million in federal stimulus funding, but labor disputes between contractors and unions, and the project’s pricetag, which inflated to $36 million, kept the bridgework from getting started.

John Nations, Metro’s President and CEO says the bridge’s age also made the bidding process difficult. 

“The Eads Bridge is an iconic structure and it’s unique," he said. "Steel was an experimental metal when it was constructed and that’s really at the heart of what we’re dealing with.”

Modernizing the Victorian Era bridge includes sandblasting about nine coats of paint off the bridge’s ribbed arch spans and coating them with protective sealant, replacing track supports, track and rail ties, and patching masonry.

Nations says work on the bridge will begin in the next few weeks. More than 300 jobs are expected to be created during the project.