On Tuesday morning, officials from the St. Louis area came together for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the re-opening of the Delmar Boulevard Interstate 170 overpass in University City.
"We were very pleased that the project went quickly," said Olivette City Manager Mike McDowell.
The bridge was not scheduled to open until September, but the construction moved at a quick enough pace to get it open on Tuesday. The tone of the morning was very positive and happy, and the officials all seemed thrilled that the project came in ahead of schedule.
"It's simply outstanding," St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said. "They're ahead of schedule - what more do you want?"
People started to gather around 8:45 a.m., mingling and checking out the bridge before the official ceremony began.
"We are very pleased to have this bridge completed," University City Mayor Shelley Welsch said. "They did a great job of making it fully-accessible for walkers and bikers. It also brings a sense of economic development and growth for University City."
Welsch cited plans for a new Walgreens at 8390 Delmar Blvd. as one example of the economic development.
Other local officials were equally happy about the bridge's completion for various reasons.
"It connects us with the outside world," said Missouri State Representative Rory Ellinger of University City. "Also, projects like this put people to work - a justifiable role of the government."
"It's absolutely wonderful," Olivette Mayor Jean Antoine said of the bridge. "That we had the resources and funding to do it is a wonderful thing."
The ceremony began around 9:10 a.m., with opening remarks from Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) St. Louis District Design Engineer Karen Yeomans.
"We appreciate everybody coming out," Yeomans said.
Yeomans was followed by several local officials, including Dooley, Welsch, Ellinger and Antoine, who echoed their earlier statements to University City Patch.
"Doesn't it look good?" Dooley asked the crowd, which was answered with applause. "More importantly, today we have cupcakes to celebrate. The bridge will be here for a long time, but today, we have cupcakes."
Refreshments were provided before and after the ceremony, including some MoDOT-decorated mini-cupcakes from Jilly's Cupcake Bar across the street.
Several of the officials also took the time to salute the construction workers who built the new bridge to University City.
"It's 80 degrees and beautiful today, but it was 105 and better through a lot of this project," St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan said.
According to multiple sources, the bridge should be open to traffic before this evening's rush hour. Andrew Gates, a community relations representative for MoDOT, said they're hoping for 2:30 p.m. as the specific time for the opening.