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Eads Bridge Rehabilitation Project Enters Second Phase

The Bi-State Development Agency, operator of Metro in St. Louis, recently finished the first half of rehabilitation work for the historic Eads Bridge across the Mississippi River—completed in 1874 as the first steel structure bridge project in the U.S. and one of the first structures of any kind in the country to extensively use steel as a construction component.

“The importance of the rehabilitation to preserve this critical piece of our transit system cannot be overstated,” said John Nations, president and chief executive officer of the Bi-State Development Agency/Metro. “Our MetroLink trains cross this bridge approximately 300 times each day.”

Work has been completed on the north side of the bridge and ­continues on the south side, including the removal of up to nine layers of old paint and rust, priming the stripped-down structure with a rust inhibitor and topping it with an anti-corrosion coating expected to extend the life of the bridge another 50 years. Workers also replaced the structural flooring ­system, ties and rails that MetroLink uses and installed a state-of-the-art overhead conductor rail.

The $40.2 million project is the first comprehensive, full-scale overhaul of the bridge truss and supporting superstructure in its 140-year history. Funding includes a $25 million federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant; a $4.8 million federal grant contributed by the city of St. Louis, which co-owns the bridge with Metro; and local monies.


A MetroLink light rail train on the Eads Bridge, currently undergoing the first comprehensive overhaul in its 140-year history. 

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