(Springfield, IL) — April 19, 2010. Score a big one for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
Quinn today joined Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the Eads Bridge in St. Louis to break ground on the new $667 million Mississippi River Bridge project.
Quinn’s disgraced predecessor Rod Blagojevich had earlier in his second term publicly heralded the agreement with Missouri to build the bridge–contingent upon the Illinois General Assembly approving a capital funding, a bill that the legislature refused to approve on Blagojevitch’s watch.
Quinn won lawmakers’ approval for the capital bill and fulfilled an empty Blagojevich promise.
The project is expected to create more than 2,200 jobs, provide congestion relief and will spur approximately $25.3 billion in regional economic activity over the next 45 years, according to Quinn’s office.
“A new bridge joining Missouri and Illinois will greatly enhance safety and relieve congestion in the St. Louis metro area,” said Quinn. “This project will also boost the local economy of both of our state by creating thousands of jobs for the region.”
A joint project by the Missouri and Illinois Departments of Transportation, construction is expected to generate 2,200 direct and indirect jobs being created in the greater St. Louis Metropolitan area, with 1,200 anticipated to be Illinois-based jobs.
“Coupled with the announcement last month that development of the high-speed rail corridor to Chicago is on a fast track, St. Louis is well-positioned to thrive as a key transportation hub of the Midwest,” said Nixon.
The new bridge will be a four-lane, cable-stayed structure that will relocate Interstate 70 from the Poplar Street Bridge, which now carries I-55, I-64 and I-70. The main span contractor is a joint venture of Massman Construction, Traylor Brothers and Alberici Constructors.
“We are very excited to take part in building the first new bridge in more than 40 years to connect downtown St. Louis and southwestern Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. ”
The estimated $667 million dollar project is funded through a combination of federal and state funds, which includes $313 million from Illinois, $115 million from Missouri and $239 million in federal.
The project is expected to be completed by 2014.
If Quinn wins election to a full-term over State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) in November, he’ll be around to cut the ribbon.
In the meantime, Quinn deserves much credit for moving the project forward.