Missouri Department of Transportation District Engineer Ed Hassinger and City of St. Charles Mayor Sally Faith announced today the I-70 Blanchette Missouri River Bridge rehabilitation project is ahead of schedule.  The westbound I-70 bridge was closed November 2, 2012, for a maximum one year closure.

We" are pleased to announce today that our reconstruction work is progressing ahead of the one year schedule," said MoDOT St. Louis District Engineer Ed Hassinger. "The contractor, Walsh Construction, is pushing to open the bridge to traffic before the city's annual Festival of the Little Hills in mid-August.  That goal would be nearly three months ahead of the original schedule."

This week, Walsh Construction installed the last major piece of structural steel for the bridge.  Since March, crews have installed approximately 2,200 pieces of steel for a total weight of 6.5 million pounds of steel in the truss and 1.5 million pounds of steel girders.  Crews have begun pouring the concrete bridge deck.  Despite extreme low river levels in the winter and flood levels in the spring, the contractor and team of local trades have continued on an aggressive schedule.

"Motorists have done a great job adjusting to the reduced lanes on I-70 at the Blanchette Bridge, and we appreciate their patience and cooperation," said Hassinger.  "We need people to continue using the alternate bridge crossings and avoiding I-70 during rush hours for a few more months."

"We also want to thank the City of St. Charles for their team approach to this.  Their cooperation and assistance with the local businesses has made this a smooth process for everyone," said Hassinger.

For more information on the I-70 Blanchette Bridge rehabilitation project, go to www.modot.org/blanchettebridge .