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MTD-affiliated Steelworkers (USW) took great pride in February when the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge opened for traffic connecting Illinois and Missouri along Interstate 70 across the Mississippi River.

The reason for the excitement is this bridge in the heartland of the United States was built American – unlike recent projects on both coasts.

“This is how American infrastructure projects should be done,” declared USW International President Leo Gerard. “Use American materials and employ American workers to support their families and communities.”

Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn echoed Gerard’s comments: “This much-needed bridge has created thousands of jobs here in Illinois and addresses the demands of our growing economy.”

From the other side of the river, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon added, “This is a milestone for trade and transportation that will help this region continue to grow.”

Construction started in 2010 and finished last summer. At 2,770 feet, it is the third-longest cable bridge in the United States.

The Steelworkers magazine, USW@Work, pointed out work to replace the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge used steel modules made in China and shipped to California. “That bridge has been criticized for delays, cost overruns and quality problems including widespread cracks in Chinese welds,” stated the magazine.

On the opposite coast, efforts to rehab New York’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge are using Chinese-made bridge decks, which USW International Vice President Tom Conway deemed a “foolish approach,” according to USW@Work.