ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Missouri is pushing back the schedule for when it'll seek bids for a new Mississippi River bridge linking Illinois to St. Louis to allow for more study of how to best use minority and women contractors.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says it's responding to public concerns by pushing back its solicitation of bids roughly six weeks until Oct. 30. Bids now will be opened Nov. 30.
The department says the new timelines will enable it to determine if minority- and women-owned businesses are fully being used around St. Louis.
The additional time will allow the department's Illinois counterpart to address land-acquisition issues on the Illinois side of the river.
Both states hope to begin construction on the proposed four-lane, $640 million span as early as next year, with work taking four to six years.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)