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January 29th, 2010
09:24 PM ET

First stimulus project nears completion, job questions remain

David Fitzpatrick
CNN's Special Investigative Unit

A town with a population of 218 sitting more than three hours from St. Louis would seem like an unlikely place for the nation's first stimulus project.

Yet the progress is apparent on a new $9 million bridge over the Osage River, and the span is scheduled to receive its first automobile and truck traffic sometime in midsummer. It's replacing a bridge built when Franklin Roosevelt was president on what the Missouri Department of Transportation says is the most direct link between Missouri's capitol, Jefferson City, and a large U.S. Army installation, Fort Leonard Wood.

The earth-moving equipment kicked in only minutes after President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill his administration pushed through Congress 11 months ago. Missouri's Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, was present at the first shovel turning and the state paid for a satellite truck to beam images of the ceremony to every resident of the state who wanted to see it.

State and federal officials said at that time that the bridge would create about 30 direct jobs and spin off another 220 "indirect" jobs - supplying the steel, pouring the concrete and boosting the local community's economy.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • David Fitzpatrick • Stimulus
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