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East-West Gateway Signs Off On Poplar Street Bridge Upgrades

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments has signed off on a set of upgrades to the Poplar Street Bridge.

The improvements include a two-lane ramp from northbound I-55 and the addition of a fifth eastbound lane to the bridge.

Jim Wild is the Assistant Executive Director at East-West. He says the way the bridge is currently constructed leads to daily traffic backups.

"As you go eastbound on I-64, we drop from 3 lanes down to two lanes, and then it increases to 4 lanes over the bridge and that creates a choke point," Wild said.

The plan also creates a new ramp from the eastbound lanes of the Martin Luther King Bridge to southbound Route 3 in Illinois, which leads to the communities of Sauget, East St. Louis and Cahokia.

Construction won't begin until 2014 after the completion of the New Mississippi River Bridge north of downtown.

The first phase of construction is expected to cost about $43 million.

A later phase, if financing becomes available, would add a third eastbound lane approaching the PSB on I-64 near Busch Stadium.

Follow Adam Allington on Twitter:  @aallington