Missouri, Illinois celebrate new Mississippi River bridge completion

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(KPLR)- The St. Louis region is just one day away from having a new option when it comes to crossing the Mississippi River. The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, located just north of downtown St. Louis, opens Sunday and will serve as the new Interstate 70 connector between Missouri and Illinois.

Events marking the opening of the bridge started Friday and continued on Saturday

MoDOT says the $229.5 million bridge will be the third longest cable stayed bridge in the country. The main span between the two soaring towers is 1,500 feet long and is 60 feet above the Mississippi River.

Construction started in February 2010 with almost 16.5 million pounds of steel being used to build it.

Sadly, there was one casualty in the building of this structure. In March 2012, Andy Gammon, 35, died when he fell into the water while working to build this bridge. A stretch of Interstate 70 leading on to the bridge has been named the “Andy Gammon Memorial Highway”.

All public events celebrating the bridge opening are Saturday. All public events celebrating the bridge opening are Saturday. A 6K run and cycling events were held in the morning. The bridge was open to the public Saturday afternoon for pedestrians. Several dignitaries, including St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, will be on hand for a ribbon cutting.