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Contractors World International Vol 6 No 5

Contractors World International


he iconic Eads Bridge crossing the Mississippi

River between St. Louis, Illinois was the first steel

structure bridge of its kind in the United States

when it was designed by James B. Eads and opened on July

4, 1874.

A significant engineering feat for its time, the historic

bridge was in desperate need of rehabilitation from dec-

ades of use, repairs and environmental exposure.

In May 2012, the Bi-State Development Agency/Metro

launched a monumental Eads Bridge Rehabilitation pro-

ject, largely funded through $34 million in federal support,

which includes $25 million from American Recovery and

Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

All phases of the project are scheduled to be completed

in 2016 and expected to extend the life of the bridge by 50


The top deck of the bridge which supports vehicle and

pedestrian travel is owned by the City of St. Louis. BSDA/

Metro owns the superstructure and the lower deck which

is the rail deck that supports the region’s MetroLink light

rail system.

The multi-faceted restoration project includes:

• replacement of support steel dating from the 1880s

• refinishing and repainting the bridge’s superstructure

using a rust-inhibiting coating,

• upgrading the MetroLink light rail system

Restoring Archways

On Historic

Mississippi Bridge


Flaking material from brickwork was a problem on the

old archways so remedial work was essential as part

of a total refurbishment of the historic bridge.