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Illinois, Missouri get award for Mississippi River bridge

Associated Press
Ben Clark, great-grandson of former U.S. Speaker of the House and 1912 Democrat presidential candidate Champ Clark, speaks to the crowd at the dedication of the new Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, Mo.

PITTSFIELD, Ill. — Illinois and Missouri's partnership that replaced the 92-year-old Champ Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River has earned the two states a regional transportation award for the second year in a row.

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said the regional transportation award for Midwest states comes from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

The bridge connecting the two states along U.S. 54 took top honors in the "Quality of Life/Community Development, Medium Project" category.

Illinois and Missouri shared the cost of the $60 million bridge, which links Louisiana, Missouri and Pike County in Illinois, about 90 miles northwest of St. Louis. The project doubled the width of the original bridge and eliminated a 40-ton weight restriction while adding lanes for bikes and pedestrians.

The first bridge was built in 1928 and honors James Beauchamp Clark of Bowling Green, who was U.S. House Speaker from 1911-1919. The last of the original span was demolished last November.