EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Strong Mississippi River currents have forced the suspension of a search for a construction worker who fell with a piece of equipment into the river during a bridge-building project.

Authorities called off the search late Wednesday afternoon and planned to resume Thursday in the river near East St. Louis.

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A Missouri Department of Transportation spokesman says the worker was in a harness inside a four-wheeled aerial lift when equipment toppled from a barge into the river.

The worker hasn't been publicly identified.

The four-lane, cable-stayed bridge linking Missouri to southwestern Illinois would be the first span in the congestion-plagued area in some four decades. The more than $600 million project is to be completed by early 2014.

The new bridge would divert Interstate 70 traffic from another span.