ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Mississippi River Bridge, or newly named Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, will hit another milestone Friday when workers drop in the final 10-foot-long section that knits together the new bridge.
Crews will close the gap between the Missouri and Illinois sections of the bridge as long as weather permits on Friday.
Three pieces of steel will be separately installed as part of the process; two will be installed on Thursday and the final one will be on Friday.
Missouri Department of Transportation Director Randy Hitt says there is a reason the bridge was built inward from each bank, instead of going straight across from one side to the other.
“You always got to keep the towers in balance and work from the inside out and so the bridge is most vulnerable before it is connected,” he says.
Hitt says there is still plenty of work to be completed, but he says the project is on schedule to open early next year. He also points out that the bridge will be ready to stand up to anything St. Louis can throw at it.
“The bridge is designed for the seismic zone that we’re in,” he says. “Also, the wind speeds, barge collisions.”
The bridge is designed to carry 40,000 vehicles per day across the Mississippi River.
Workers have already installed 15 million pounds of structural steel and used more than 100,000 bolts. The total weight of the bridge is around 300 million pounds.
Hitt says no official ceremony is scheduled, but anyone who wishes to watch workers connect the two sides of the bridge can do so from the riverfront pump house off Mullanphy Street in north city.