St. Clair County celebrated the completion of the $7 million River Bridge District project on the East St. Louis Riverfront today with a ribbon cutting. The River Bridge District Project is wrapping up on time and under budget, following a $7 million investment in a comprehensive overhaul of Front Street from Trendley Avenue in East St. Louis to where the road terminates in Fairmont City, as well as improvements to connecting roadways. National, state and local elected leaders joined various other project funders and supporters to officially cut the ribbon marking the completion of two key phases of the project.
The initial phase, for which ground was broken in November 2016, included the critical rebuilding and upgrading of Front Street to allow for enhanced access for the burgeoning commercial traffic generated by Cargill and Bunge-SCF along the East St. Louis Riverfront. The second phase included a new roundabout near the Casino Queen and improvements to B Street and parts of River Park Drive. This important infrastructure work also created enhanced access for patrons and employees of the Casino Queen and citizens of East St. Louis, providing separation of the heavy commercial traffic from other normal public movement. Funding for the project, which was originally estimated at $8.1 million, came from federal, state, county, locally based special project authorities and private sources, including more than $1.5 million from the private sector. In addition to improving the mile-long stretch of Front Street that links Cargill and Bunge-SCF so it can better support their growing operations along the Ag Coast of America, the project has opened up several hundred acres of undeveloped, newly accessible ground that is already sparking interest from other agribusiness and distribution companies and will help to attract new jobs along the East St. Louis Riverfront. Representing a true public/private partnership, the project is the final piece of substantial highway infrastructure improvements already made by state and federal partners in the immediate vicinity, including the relocation of Illinois Route 3 and the opening of the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.