Hundreds of people gathered on the new Osage River Bridge today in Tuscumbia, Mo., to celebrate a new bridge that offers a much-needed connection for businesses, travelers, farmers and the military in mid-Missouri. It was truly heart-warming to see people of all ages and backgrounds gathering to celebrate something that links each of us - transportation.
Standing on the new structure, I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief. As the marching band played and the crowd covered their hearts for the national anthem, it was hard not to notice the Depression-era bridge immediately next to us. The difference between the bridge this community had been using every day and the bridge they will now use is striking, and I was happy to be on the wider, smoother, sturdier structure as the ceremony began.
This project was the first in the nation to begin after stimulus funding was approved by President Obama in Feb. 2009. Within minutes, this community began reaping the benefits as sparks flew and work began to replace a crumbling structure with something they can rely on for decades to come. It was a great sight to see this project completed as promised and see the smiles of so many of the Missourians it will serve.