EAST ST. LOUIS – Federal, state and local officials joined Friday to officially dedicate a section of Interstate 70 in Illinois as the “Jerry F. Costello Expressway.”
The section of highway leading up to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is named after the former congressman who was instrumental in securing the funding and commitments to build the new bridge and its highway approaches.
“Now, every day, motorists will be reminded of the public servant who played a major role in getting the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge funded and built,” Gov. Pat Quinn said. “This is a small token of gratitude from the citizens of Illinois for all the dedicated work that Jerry Costello has done for our state and nation.”
Vehicles approaching the bridge on I-70 from the east, or entering Illinois from the west, will now see signs that denote “Jerry F. Costello Expressway.” That section of highway is part of the $695 million bridge project that started in the late 1990s as a vision shared by Costello and his federal, state and local colleagues for a new interstate highway river crossing.
The new bridge helps relieve congestion, improves safety and reduces travel delays on the nearby Poplar Street Bridge. Construction on the bridge and its new I-70 approaches began in the summer of 2009 and the bridge was opened to traffic on Feb. 9, 2014. The state of Illinois contributed a total of $347 million toward the total project cost.
A diverse group of trade workers, contractors and engineers worked on the project since it began in 2009. The 24 percent minority workforce participation on the Illinois-funded part of the project was nearly 10 percent higher than the goal set by the Federal Highway Administration and set a record for construction projects in the Metro East area.
“I was honored to lead and work with the regional congressional delegation and leaders to make the bridge and all of the infrastructure improvements a reality,” Costello said. “I am both honored and humbled that the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation and the Governor signed it to make this day a reality for me and my family.”
Jerry F. Costello represented Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, and previously the 21st District, from 1988 to 2013. He was born in East St. Louis and worked in law enforcement before being elected St. Clair County Board chairman in 1980. Costello served in this capacity until his election to Congress.