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Protest shutdown of I-64 called off

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The scheduled shut-down of I-64 in East St. Louis by a group of African-American contractors has been called off, for now.

The Metro East Black Contractors Organization had planned the highway shut-down for this afternoon (Monday) because they say they've received less than 10% of the work on two major contracts.

But on Friday, the Illinois Department of Transportation contacted the Metro East Black Contractors Organization and set up a meeting.

Spokesman Eric Vickers says the contractors will make an announcement after their meeting Tuesday with IDOT Secretary Tim Martin.

"If we are satisfied that progress is being made in the meeting - that I-DOT is making some substantive efforts in our direction - then we'll continue the process. If not, then we'll proceed with the direct action of shutting down the highway."

Vickers says the group wants to see more work for Metro East residents, as well as minority contractors and workers.

"You have tremendous unemployment in that area, and you have $500 million of construction work taking place right in that area, and there's no reason why the residents of the area, African-Americans, and other minorities can't work on those projects," added Vickers. "We're seeking work, not a hand-out."