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Monday, January 7, 2008

Bridge of Size

Posted By on Mon, Jan 7, 2008 at 2:35 PM

A scant few months after the Interstate 35 bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, crews closed one of St. Louis’ own aged spans: Jefferson Avenue between Highway 40 and Chouteau Avenue.

The bridge, built in 1911, crossed several rail lines, including MetroLink. It also made Jefferson Avenue an easy north-south path across the city and linked Highway 40 and Interstate 44. (Did we hear a collective “d’oh!” from Lafayette Square?)

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The bridge came down on October 8, but never fear. Says Marjorie Melton, president of the Board of Public Service: “Nothing with Jefferson has to do with Minneapolis.”

The city has been planning for seven years to replace it. “It was pretty bad. You could put your fist through some of the steel,” Melton says.

Gershenson Construction, based in Eureka, was awarded the $11.6 million contract in September. The work is supposed to be finished before the Missouri Department of Transportation shuts down Highway 40 in the city in 2009. “We did put a little pressure on the contractor to make sure we’re open by January 1 [2009],” Melton says.

-Kathleen McLaughlin

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