MLK Bridge expected to close later this year for repairs - KMOV.com

MLK Bridge expected to close later this year for repairs

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The Martin Luther King Bridge (Credit: KMOV) The Martin Luther King Bridge (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The Martin Luther King Bridge is expected to close later this year for repairs, but no construction or change is happening to the bridge itself. The project is happening to rebuild and improve the bridge on the Illinois side that leads into the MLK Bridge. It's a small truss bridge that was built back in the early 1950s. 

"It's basically due for an upgrade and a repair," said Kirk Brown, IDOT project manager and engineer. 

The recently approved Illinois budget set aside $36 million to repair this ramp bridge. "The funding finally became available for it," said Brown, "I's been in our multi-year plan for about 6 years."

The new truss bridge will become a steel beam, girder bridge. The beams above the bridge now will be removed during construction, which will eliminate a height restriction for cars. 

Brown says the reason they are closing the whole MLK bridge to do this project is because of time and money. He says the project will finish faster, which ultimately saves money, if no drivers use the bridge during construction.

"It's going to build up a lot of traffic around here, a lot of backups, but fortunately I don't have to take it," said Illinois driver Clay Penn, who is grateful he lives and works in Illinois while all this bridge construction is happening, "I don't have anything against Missouri, but I'm glad I don't have to travel over there."

IDOT will start accepting contractor bids for the project on Friday. Once a contractor is chosen, an exact start date will be announced. For now, they expect the MLK bridge to be closed starting in early August and reopening at the end of August in 2019.

The project will begin before the Poplar Street Bridge construction is complete in December.

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