Rep. Friess Attends Don Welge Memorial Bridge Groundbreaking Ceremony

Chester, IL…Construction has officially begun for the Don Welge Memorial Bridge, a project that pays tribute to Don Welge, who was the President and CEO of the Gilster Mary-Lee Corp., a private label food manufacturer headquartered in Chester. Mr. Welge grew up in Chester and lived there for the majority of his life before passing away after contracting COVID-19 at the age of 84. He was a beloved member of the community, devoted to his family and church, and a staunch advocate of the Boy Scouts and local charities.

State Representative David Friess, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony last week, emphasized the significance of Don Welge’s impact, stating, “Don Welge’s tireless dedication to advocating for a new bridge at Chester demonstrated his commitment to our communities and businesses in southwest Illinois and southeast Missouri. This bridge is a testament to his vision and serves as a reminder of his impactful contributions to our region. “

The Don Welge Memorial Bridge, set to span along Illinois Route 150 and Missouri Route 51, aims to be wider and taller, accommodating increased vehicular traffic and offering enhanced flood prevention measures. This bridge will connect Chester, Illinois, and Perry County, Missouri, crossing the Mississippi River.

The bridge’s construction is a joint effort between Illinois and Missouri and is projected to be completed by the end of 2026. This initiative promises improved infrastructure and connectivity for the entire region.