Fewer drivers than expected are using a new Mississippi River bridge downtown.
The new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge carries Interstate 70 over the river between Illinois and Missouri. It had been projected to reduce traffic by as much as 50 percent of the Eads and Martin Luther King Bridges, and by 20 percent on the Poplar Street Bridge.
But that hasn't happened. KMOV-TV reports that data shows that since the Stan Span opened in February, the Eads Bridge has seen a decline of about 25 percent, and King Bridge traffic has dropped about 40 percent, but traffic on the Poplar is down only 7 percent.
Transportation officials say part of the issue is that traffic is up about 7 percent overall on all of the downtown bridges.
Motorists are reporting some confusing signs around one of the approaches to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
For the morning rush hour, drivers from the Illinois side on Interstate 70 noticed a closed sign over the exit for the bridge, even though the Stan Span is officially open. Some GPS units are not recognizing the bridge yet--although it appears Google Maps has updated to include the bridge.
Transportation officials are still optimistic and say the bridge will reduce traffic on the Poplar Street each morning by about 20 percent.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has joined his Missouri counterpart and others at a ribbon-cutting for a new bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis.
The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is opening to traffic Sunday.
The two states spent years fighting over how to pay for the $700 million span, then argued over what to name the bridge.
But on Saturday officials from both states came together to celebrate its completion.
Quinn said the first new link to be built between downtown St. Louis and southwestern Illinois in more than four decades will be a "catalyst for business development and job creation."
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called it "a road to opportunity."
It's designed to relieve I-70 traffic on the chronically crammed 50-year-old Poplar Street Bridge.
Another interstate closure will delay drivers in the metro-east this weekend.
The Illinois Department of Transportation will shut down westbound Interstate 55/70 between IL Rte. 203 and the I-64 merge starting at 9:00 p.m. Friday.
Eastbound Interstate 64 will remain closed this weekend between 25th Street the split.
Detours using Interstate 255 will be marked.
Both closures are related to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River. Both highways should reopen by Monday morning; Westbound I-55/70 by 5:00 a.m.. Eastbound I-64 by 9:00 a.m.
Monday is the first morning commute since Illinois transportation crews closed a key stretch of Interstate 64.
All lanes of eastbound I-64 are closed between the I-55/70 split and 25th Street. And it's scheduled to remain closed until next Monday morning (Sept. 23).
The closure will allow crews to build connections to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. IDOT reports that the new bridge across the Mississippi River is on track to open early next year (2014).
The next phase of work on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will require a heavily traveled interstate to be shut down for more than a week.
At 9 p.m. Friday, Illinois transportation crews plan to close eastbound I-64 from the I-55/70 split to 18th Street. It's expected to remain closed until 9 a.m. on Monday, September 23rd.
IDOT officials say the closure is necessary so that crews can build ramps to the new bridge, and drivers should expect long delays until the work is done.
The primary detour is eastbound on I-55/70 to I-255 south, which will add five-to-ten minutes during off-peak hours. Drivers who can avoid the area over the next nine days are advised to do so.
A major milestone on construction of the New Mississippi River Bridge is set to take place this week.
MoDOT announced that the gap between the two sides will be closed. This final pieces of steel will be moved into place on Thursday and Friday, weather permitting. The public can view the work from the pumphouse alongside the river, near the Mullanphy entrance to the river wall.
Illinois officials gathered on the approach ramp of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge this afternoon to get a progress report on the newest Mississippi River crossing.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says the bridge project has created thousands of jobs and boosted economic activity in the region. Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says there has also been an effort to maintain a high level of diversity on the project.
"For the duration of this project we've been at between 23 and 24 percent for minority participation on this bridge and last week we're at 25 percent minority participation on this bridge", says Schneider, "That is huge."
The bridge was slated to be finished next July, but building is ahead of schedule and could be completed as early as March.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed legislation designating the new Interstate 70 bridge connecting St. Louis and southwestern Illinois over the Mississippi River as the "Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge."
The name is a compromise between Missouri lawmakers who wanted to honor the late St. Louis Cardinals great and Illinois lawmakers who wanted to name the bridge in honor of military veterans.
Obama signed the measure Friday, two days after Governor Jay Nixon signed legislation dubbing Missouri's side of the bridge the "Stan Musial Memorial Bridge."
Musial died in January at age 92. He was a three-time MVP and seven-time batting champion who spent his 22-year career with the Cardinals. He also was a Navy veteran of World War II and a 2011 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.