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Missouri Department of Transportation officals were on hand for a public meeting, Tuesday afternoon at City Hall, to discuss three alternative plans to improve the flow of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic between the Arch grounds and downtown St. Louis.
Will 'Park Over Highway' Project Improve Access to Arch Grounds?
Gregory J. Horn, Mississippi River Bridge Project Director, said that motorists coming from the south on I-55/I-44 would still be able to get off at Memorial Drive, but Memorial Drive would no longer go through.
Charles and Shirley Drury, owners of Drury Plaza Hotel, took a closer look at alternative plans to improve traffic through downtown St. Louis.
Illustration of proposed 'Park Over Highway' project to improve access to the Arch grounds.
by Bob Moore, SLFP.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), April 10, 2012 - The Gateway Arch has dominated the skyline of downtown St. Louis for nearly 50 years, drawing more than 3 million visitors a year to the massive steel structure that spans 630 feet at ground level.
Over the years, the future of the Arch, its impact on the metropolitan St. Louis area, and public access to surrounding grounds, have been the focus of numerous studies. Recently, an extensive design competition was held by CityArchRiver 2015 to celebrate the Arch's 50th anniversary.
In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it was awarding a $20 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to the Missouri Department of Transportation for funding for "roadway improvements along the I-70 corridor road system in St. Louis" including a key component of the CityArchRiver plan, a pedestrian land bridge over I-70 connecting the Old Courthouse, Luther Ely Smith Square and the Gateway Arch grounds.
Today, Missouri Department of Transportation officials held an open-house style meeting for the public to provide input and comments on MoDOT's portion of the CityArchRiver 2015 project.
Engineers from MoDOT were on hand to discuss several proposed alternatives for the Park over the Highway portion and its connection with the new Mississippi River Bridge, currently under construction just north of downtown St. Louis.
According to Gregory J. Horn, Mississippi River Bridge Project Director, MoDOT believes that the preferred alternative for the Park over the Highway structure includes changing access between the existing I-70 and Memorial Drive.
In response to a question regarding the flow of traffic on Memorial Drive and the depressed lanes of I-70, Horn stated that motorists coming from the south on I-55/I-44 would still be able to get off at Memorial Drive, but Memorial Drive would no longer go through. "We are adding another lane to the depressed section of lower I-70 and swapping out the ramp to Washington Avenue. There would actually be two entrances to the city from the south."
Horn stated that motorists entering the city from the north would see dramatic changes in connection with the new Mississippi River Bridge. "We are adding a new ramp exit from I-70 that will provide access from the north to Tucker Blvd and also to Washington Avenue."
The traffic flow into downtown will be changed with motorists coming off the bridge via the Tucker exit. "I-70 is going to be relocated to the new Mississippi River Bridge and that will definitely change traffic patterns through downtown St. Louis for the better."
Horn noted that when the city was built a long time ago, people lived in the north and worked downtown. Since then, the population has shifted and more people live in the south. They come into downtown and then go up to north county to work.
"You will still have that traffic flow through the depressed area, but the highway will be renamed I-44," stated Horn. "People coming from Illinois over the Poplar Street Bridge, will take I-55 south. If they want to go north to the airport, they will take I-70 over the new bridge."
Business owners and developers were also eager to take a closer look at the alternative plans to improve traffic flow downtown and pedestrian access to the Arch grounds.
Charles Drury, owner and developer of the Drury Plaza Hotel at 4th and Market Street, stated that "Anytime you build anything that's of value around a piece of property, it should benefit from it. As far as affecting the hotel's occupancy, it won't make a great deal of difference. We are already in the perfect location."
If you were unable to make it to City Hall, MoDOT is also staging a "virtual" version of the same meeting. You may review the information and leave your comments there. Here is a link: Park over the Highway Virtual Meeting
See Archived Stories:
$20 Million TIGER III Funding to Jump Start CityArchRiver 2015 Project
Framing a Modern Masterpiece - Winning Team Introduced at Historical Old Courthouse
Gateway Guide Offers Live Views of St. Louis Traffic
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com) - Does your daily commute catch you by surprise? Is it smooth sailing or are there crashes and other incidents on your path home that will cause you delays? Check out MoDOT's new and improved Gatewayguide.com website for live traffic information and alerts before you leave for work or home.
MoDOT's new GatewayGuide.com website shows nearly 300 live camera views updating every couple of seconds, displays real-time information on incidents and work zones with lane closures and is mobile friendly for your smart phone or other cellular device.
"You can sign up for personalized My STL Traffic alerts specific to the highway you use at the times you need it each day," said MoDOT Assistant District Engineer Tom Blair. "These alerts can be sent to you by text or email to the device you choose and will inform you of crashes or other lane closures. Our goal is to keep traffic moving. The better informed you are of current road conditions, the better choices you can make for a quick, safe trip."
The new website provides a tour of camera views from one end of an interstate to the other. It also shows a live Twitter feed from MoDOT's @StLouisTraffic. Check out the new website at www.gatewayguide.com.
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MoDOT Ramps Up Bridge Work Throughout Area
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Removal of Cass Avenue Overpass Begins Process for Construction of New Mississippi River Bridge
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Can St. Louis Become the Bridge to Somewhere?
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