New Cape Girardeau bridge accommodates cyclists

A new 100 million dollar bridge across the Mississippi River opened Saturday. The bridge links Cape Girardeau, MO, and East Cape Girardeau, IL.

The bridge will be named for former Congressman Bill Emerson, who was instrumental in getting funding for the new bridge, which replaces a narrow, unsafe bridge built in 1928. Emerson, who served 8 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, was succeeded by his wife, JoAnn Emerson, who still holds the congressional seat in southeast Missouri.

The good news is that the new bridge has two lanes in each direction, but also a 10-foot shoulder on each side that is a very good accommodation for bicyclists and also usable by pedestrians. According to Steve Gerard, who was able to cycle across the bridge from home to work for the first time Monday morning, at the opening ceremony for the bridge Saturday, "it was declared that the Emerson Bridge would forever be open to bicycles and pedestrians!"

The recently opened Chouteau Trafficway bridge across the Missouri River in Kansas City has bicycle accommodations. The northbound bridge over the Missouri at Jefferson City was recently re-striped to be more bicycle friendly. A new freeway bridge over the Mississippi in St. Louis will include bicycleable shoulders.

There seems to be a positive trend here!

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