ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Deputy Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan today joined Missouri and Illinois officials to kick off the Eads Bridge Rehabilitation Project, which will repair and restore the historic, 138-year old bridge and ensure safe and efficient light rail service for thousands of people who use the bridge to cross the Mississippi River every day.
“The Obama Administration’s investments in America’s transit systems, railways, roads and bridges are generating tens of thousands of construction-related jobs and putting more money in the pockets of working Americans,” said Secretary Ray LaHood. “But we must do more. Congress needs to pass a strong transportation bill so we can continue to invest in critically needed projects like the Eads Bridge, projects that will keep our economy moving and growing for years to come.”
The $36 million project is funded in part by more than $34 million in federal dollars, including $25 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $9 million in additional federal transit funds directed to the Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District. Local funds will cover the remaining cost to modernize and repair the bridge, which was built in 1874.
“Keeping this essential bridge safe and in good working order is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Deputy Administrator McMillan. “All across America, the infrastructure we depend on, like this bridge, is in need of modernization and repairs. We must protect and preserve all our existing transportation assets—bridges, highways, transit systems, and more—so that future generations enjoy safe, reliable transportation wherever they live and work.”
Deputy Administrator McMillan was joined by Congressman William Clay, City of East St. Louis, Ill., Mayor Alvin Parks, City of St. Louis, Mo., Mayor Francis Slay, Metro President and CEO John Nations, Metro Board Chair David Dietzel and other local officials.
More than 300 jobs are expected to be created during the major reconstruction of the bridge, with a local firm, St. Louis Bridge Construction Company, at the helm. Workers will replace support steel that dates back to the 1920s, upgrade the MetroLink track system, and blast and paint the entire superstructure with a protective coating to prevent future rust. The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.