There are two opportunities in the near future to see progress on the new I-70 bridge across the Mississippi River just north of downtown St. Louis. The first tour took place October 29 and reservations are being taken for two separate tours January 28.
While the main span of the new bridge has been under construction for nearly a year, most of the work has consisted of preliminary utility work, right-of-way clearance and boring and concrete pours for bridge footings. The dramatic work of erecting the towers and cable-stayed deck remains.
The new I-70 bridge has been talked about for more than a decade. Funding was a contentious issue for years as Missouri and Illinois debated which would pay what and whether tolling would be used. In the end, Illinois is paying $200M more than Missouri and the Federal Government is providing $239M, or roughly one-third of total project cost and the bridge will be toll-free.
Today, the Poplar Street Bridge carries three Interstates across the Mississippi River, I-55, I-64 and I-70. By building a new I-70 bridge and re-routing Interstate traffic around downtown St. Louis, it is hoped to alleviate poor traffic conditions on the PSB.
Main span construction is scheduled to be complete January, 2014. At that point, the trench and elevated portion of the current I-70 will cease to function as a through route for the Interstate. The new I-70 bridge is what makes the City to River vision of an urban boulevard and vibrant Arch grounds and downtown St. Louis feasible.
Check for bridge updates at www.newriverbridge.org and sign up for a tour to see firsthand how the Interstate infrastructure is changing downtown and where I-70 is being moved. While you’re there, envision how the new I-70 bridge enables the building of more and better connections between the city and river.