I was calling to SpeakOut about animals. Everyone needs to get together and try to call to the county commissioner or somebody about animal control out in the county. Late Sunday night, I had an incident where a dog had gotten run over. The dog was pregnant and the man who ran over her messed her up pretty bad and left it. I was left to get it and try to do something with it. I called veterinarians, the sheriff's department, trying to get help to put her out of her misery, just to try to get someone to help me get her out of her suffering and I couldn't. Nobody helped me. Nobody called back. Nobody did anything. Several hours later, the dog died and I had to bury her. People need to start thinking about these animals and help with controlling them. I just got left holding the bag with this dog.
I'm calling about the Bill Emerson Bridge being constructed in Cape Girardeau. We haven't heard anything said about the construction on that lately. I was wondering if you can comment about it in SpeakOut or one of your good editorials about how they're coming on it and whether Illinois is coming along with their side of the bargain too, where both states can complete it at the same time and have it ready to go. This is an important issue. Grandma was slow, but she was old. I heard it was supposed to be completed in December 2002.
Bob Wilson, resident engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation, tried to answer some of your questions. "The target date is (and always has been) early fall 2003. Illinois is participating money-wise. Illinois is paying 10 percent, Missouri is also paying 10 percent and the Federal Highway Administration is paying 80 percent of the cost of the project. Illinois still has to build an approach roadway from the east end of the bridge to connect with Route 146 in Illinois. They have a contract coming up for that late this summer. On the Missouri side, pier 3 (the big pier in mid-river) is the critical operation as far as schedule goes. Work is progressing on that according to schedule. Pier 2 (the tall structure on the Missouri bank) started hanging bridge girders and will be starting to string the cables from the towers down to the steel within a couple of weeks. The structural steel they're hanging now will support the deck and they will work from both directions to the middle of the river. Eventually, the pier that is in mid-river and coming up now, the work is lagging on pier 2, but they will meet in mid river to complete the bridge.
I want to thank the Sikeston Street Department for its ongoing commendable work. I noticed on April 24, during the extreme strong storms, they were out in my neighborhood trying to keep the gutters clear so the they would drain properly. Living in a neighborhood where drainage is often a problem, I really appreciate this. I had moved to another town where I lived for about five years and have been back in Sikeston for about five years. When I came back, I had to call the street department on a number of occasions for problems with streets and alleys and they have always offered tremendous customer service. I think a lot of corporations could learn a lot about the basic tenets of customer service by how our street department works.