With the brand new bridge as as backdrop, Gov. Pat Quinn said on Monday afternoon that the First Avenue Bridge is symbolic of things to come in the future for the state of Illinois.

"The bridge that connects the two communities is a very important metaphor for all of us," Quinn said at a ribbon cutting and press conference held in Rock Falls' Bowman Park. "We have to be bridge builders in Illinois and America."

The $27 million construction project was completed a month ahead of schedule. The bridge was officially opened from two lanes to four on Oct. 15. Freeport-based Civil Constructors began work on the project in mid-January.

Also attending the event on Monday were state. Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, state Rep. Jerry Mitchell, R-Sterling, state Sen. Tim Bivins, Sterling Mayor Skip Lee and Rock Falls Mayor David Blanton.

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