ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - There is good news when it comes to the progress of the new westbound Blanchette Bridge. MoDOT says the work on the new bridge is coming along so well that it`s now slated to open two and a half months ahead of schedule.
This is not only good news for the thousands of motorists who use the bridge every day, but for merchants along Main Street in old St. Charles it means no more detours for a lot of their customers trying to get here.
Crews installed the last major piece of structural steel for the new westbound bridge this week. Now crews are starting to pour concrete for the new driving surface.
Since March, crews have installed 2,200 pieces of steel on the bridge. That comes out to eight million pounds.
MoDOT closed the westbound side of the Blanchette Bridge last November for a maximum of one year. Now the contractor, Walsh Construction, expects to have the new westbound bridge completely open before the Festival of the Little Hills in St. Charles in mid-August. That`s the biggest festival of the year in St. Charles.
MoDOT says there have been some challenges with low river levels and then very high levels, but crews have been able to navigate all that.
We're told there will be some closures after the westbound span is done while crews adjust the eastbound side that is now carrying traffic both ways.
Among the issues that need to be addressed, removing the concrete barriers that now separate east and westbound traffic.
Walsh Construction does have a significant financial incentive for finishing the project early. The company gets a bonus of $40,000 per day up to $1.4 million for finishing early. The total cost of the project is $64 million.