New St. Louis bridge expected; tolls reportedly not part of the plan

| 2/26/2008

Political leaders in Missouri and Illinois are expected to announce on Thursday that they’ve reached an agreement to build a new bridge across the Mississippi River at St. Louis.

The Post-Dispatch reported that U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-IL, released a statement that he was pleased that Illinois and Missouri have resolved their differences and that the region can look forward to reduced congestion.

“Importantly, the new bridge will not be a toll bridge and will not be privatized,” said Rep. Costello.

The $640 million bridge would carry four lanes of Interstate 70 traffic, instead of the eight lanes originally planned. However, the agreement leaves room for it to be expanded to six lanes in the future. Traffic would be redirected from the congested Poplar Street Bridge north to the new one, which would be south of the McKinley Bridge.

“It was not only to improve the commuting, but also to improve interstate commerce, the flow of traffic from one state to another in the St. Louis area,” Mayor Francis Slay told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Construction is expected to take at least five years with completion expected by 2015.