(Video of the groundbreaking will soon be posted on www.midwest.construction.com)
A host of dignitaries, including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, were on hand at St. Louis� Eades Street Bridge April 19 for the symbolic groundbreaking of the new $667 million Mississippi River Bridge.
Construction of the bridge, about 1 mi north of the groundbreaking site, is currently suspended due to high water on the river. When completed in 2014, the bridge will be a four-lane, cable-stayed structure connecting St. Louis with East St. Louis, Ill., and will be part of Interstate 70.
�Today is an example of the best bi-partisanship in America, right here in the heartland,� LaHood says. �This was accomplished with the help of two states and two delegations made up of both Republicans and Democrats.�
Mark Schnoebelen of Massman Construction, project sponsor for the joint venture team of Massman Construction/Traylor Bros./Alberici Constructors, says the cable-stayed bridge will face the typical challenges of any bridge built on the Mississippi.
�Just building a structure of this magnitude and at these heights (is a challenge),� Schnoebelen says. �At one point the bridge deck will be cantilevered some 750 ft without support.
�The first year we�ll be (working on) the foundations. The second year we�ll start to come out of the water and you�ll see some of the bridge substructure start to come up. Then the following year we�ll get into the deck and cable stays.�
Schnoebelen calls it �a tight schedule.�
�For a project of this magnitude that�s not an extensive amount of time, so we�ll be working a fair amount of overtime, get into shift work and have a lot of concurrent operations,� he says. Although the joint venture contractors provided constructability input during the planning phase, the Missouri and Illinois departments of transportation performed all of the design.
Mary Lamie, deputy director of highways and Region Five engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation, says Illinois will provide the majority of the state funding for the project � $313 million � because much of the work will be located there.
�On the Illinois side we�ll have about 23 construction contracts that will include some of the alignment and approach work to the bridge,� Lamie says. The new bridge is part of a group of roadway improvement projects that will connect I-70 to the I-55/64/70 interchange in East St. Louis and to I-70 near Cass Avenue in Missouri. The bridge will have two lanes in each direction with room to expand to three lanes.
Federal funding for the bridge will be $239 million and MoDOT will provide the remaining $115 million.