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Illinois breaks ground on new Mississippi River Bridge

Officials break ground on Metro East bridge approach
Adam Allington, STL Public Radio
Officials break ground on Metro East bridge approach

By Adam Allington, STL Public Radio

Brooklyn, IL – Contractors in the Metro East broke ground Friday on the Illinois approach to the new Mississippi River Bridge.

Missouri began construction on the western bridge approach last month. On the Illinois-side the bridge will divert traffic on interstate 70 past the communities of Venice and Brooklyn, ending up north of downtown St. Louis.

Illinois Congressman Jerry Costello secured one of the largest transportation earmarks in the country for the project, at $150 million. He says the new bridge is a critical step for rebuilding the regional economy.

"What this will do, this will relieve congestion," said Costello, "it will help existing businesses and I think it's another plus for us in the region now that Metrolink is up and running and very successful. We have a new bridge for the first time in 40 years."

The funding split involves Illinois funding 60 percent of the cost and Missouri 40.

The four-lane bridge is expected to open to traffic in 2014