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UPDATE:
Construction on Park Over the Highway Project Begins
Dignitaries enjoyed shoveling dirt during ground breaking ceremony, Friday, August 2, 2013, for 'Park Over the Highway': (L - R) St. Louis Mayor Francis G Slay, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger and CityArchRiver Chairman Walter Metcalfe.


U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill
"I'll see you here at the end of October 2015 when we will run across this park to the Arch without worrying about the traffic," stated U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.
Work Begins on 'Park Over the Highway' Connecting Downtown to the Gateway Arch
by Betty Moore, SLFP.com betty@slfp.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), August 2, 2013 - The 'Park Over the Highway' project began in earnest today as a landscaped structure over Interstate 70 to improve pedestrian accessibility and create a model urban national park in downtown St. Louis.

As heavy traffic rushed along Memorial Drive in front of the iconic Gateway Arch, Friday morning, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, and state and city officials and local partners met for an official ground breaking ceremony.

"We are going to make this park better for our children and grandchildren," U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill told the crowd gathered at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Luther Ely Smith Square. "We are not going to have to dodge traffic getting to the Arch and to the river."

"Today, this is about pride in the people of St. Louis. There is not another place in the country that has done this like we have done this. There has not ever been a community that has taxed itself to support a federal park. There is only one other place that you've seen the kind of public/private partnership that we have here in St. Louis. And, that is Ellis Island. So, I'll put my Arch up against that Statue of Liberty any day," concluded McCaskill with great enthusiasm."

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell's comments touched on growing concern about changing demographics. "We have an urbanizing population in this country. We have young people that are getting more and more disconnected from the natural world. They don't have the river to play on. They are spending 53 hours a week on average time in front of a screen and only 30 minutes a week in outside, active play."

"This 'Park Over the Highway', this connection from your downtown community, not only to the Arch, but also to the river and the many rivers that the Great Rivers Greenway is working to highlight, will make a huge difference in the health and well being of the children in St. Louis," stated Jewell.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he was excited about this project because it creates a sense of place. "This $380 million project you are working on as a community is becoming a source of national pride. Everyone knows when you are in St. Louis, you have to see the Arch."

Foxx emphasized the project will not only reduce congestion and improve access, it will also generate economic growth along the river.

"You are showing great grit as a community by pulling together federal, state, local and private funds to make good things happen for the country," Foxx said in an interview following the ceremony. "Our department has to be nimble enough to be able to help in situations like this when people have great ideas and great projects that helps us with not only with mobility but also with quality of life. St. Louis is leading the way."

The project component is being funded through a $20 million federal grant matched by $25 million from the state and $10 million from the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation. Overall, the CityArchRiver 2015 initiative is expected to boost visitation to the memorial. CityArchRiver also expects the initiative to support an estimated 4,400 new permanent jobs in the region.

The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission has awarded the contract to build the Park Over the Highway project to KCI Construction Company for $26.4 million.


Construction on Park Over the Highway Project Begins in August
Illustration of 'Park Over Highway' project to improve access to the Arch grounds. See related story: Will 'Park Over Highway' Project Improve Access to Arch Grounds?
Initial impacts for this summer and fall include:
  • Off-peak (non rush hour) lane closures near the Martin Luther King bridge.
  • Permanently close the Memorial ramp to eastbound I-44. The work to connect the MLK ramp to eastbound I-44 will be complete before Memorial ramp closes.
  • Close the access from northbound Washington Avenue (next to the Eads) to Memorial Drive.
  • Off-peak lane closures at the Eads and Memorial Drive.
All anticipated impacts are subject to change due to weather, schedule shifts or around major downtown events.

Summer-Fall 2013: Off-peak lane closures near the Martin Luther King bridge. Permanently close the Memorial ramp to eastbound I-44 (MLK ramp work to eastbound I-44) will be complete before Memorial ramp closes). Close the access from northbound Washington Avenue (next to the Eads) to Memorial Drive. Off-peak lane closures at the Eads and Memorial Drive.

Winter 2014: Close the Walnut Street Bridge for removal and reconstruction. Weekend closure of I-44 to remove Walnut Street Bridge. Off-peak lane closures on Walnut Street for reconstruction work.

Spring 2014-Fall 2014: Narrowed and shifted lanes on I-44 between Washington Ave and the PSB. Weekend closure of I-44 to remove Chestnut and Market Street bridges. Off-peak lane closures on Pine, Market, Chestnut and 4th streets.

Winter 2015-Fall 2015: Off-peak lane closures on Pine, Market, Chestnut and 4th streets. Off-peak lane closures on Memorial Drive. Off-peak lane closures at the MLK Bridge and Convention Plaza.

The work to improve the ramps between the Poplar Street Bridge, eastbound I-44 and southbound I-55 should start in spring 2014. This work will coordinate with the work to construct the ramp to Memorial Drive across Walnut Street and construct the dual ramps to southbound I-55. There should be minimal impacts between the two projects. See related story:
Will 'Park Over Highway' Project Improve Access to Arch Grounds?

Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Span Connected
Bridge crews, Thursday morning, carefully guided a crane, which lowered one of the 10-foot-edge beams into place along the southern edge of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Span Connected
Workers guide the 11,000 lb. edge girder into place on the northern edge of the main span of the bridge.
Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Span Connected
Bridge worker begins tighten one of nearly 650 bolts on the outside edge girder on the northern side of the main span.
Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Span Connected
by Bob Moore, SLFP.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), July 25, 2013 - Everything is going according to plan, stated Project Director Randy Hitt of the Missouri Department of Transportation, early Thursday morning, as bridge workers began placing the two outside steel edge girders connecting the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge across the Mississippi River.

The weather was also cooperating with temperatures in the sixties, low humidity and a light breeze - ideal for connecting the final bridge pieces.

In an interview near the main span, Hitt explained that they are making the two edge girders connect today and tomorrow the piece that runs the width of the bridge will be set into place. "That will be the last of the structural steel for the bridge," he stated.

By the numbers, the edge girders are about 10 feet in length and six feet in height and weigh about 11,000 lbs each. The floor beam that spans the middle is 86 feet long, six feet tall and weighs about 30,000 lbs.

Crews will be installing approximately 2,600 bolts on the edge girders in the next two days. The entire bridge has about 114,000 bolts in the structural steel, confirmed Hitt. The precast concrete deck panels will be placed on top of the steel on Saturday.

At that point, technically you will be able to walk across the bridge. However, there is still much to be done on the four-lane, cable-stayed structure before it is completed in early 2014. The bridge will also have a two inch concrete overlay with a driving surface on it, along with stripping and barriers.

The new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will carry Interstate 70 traffic from Illinois to Missouri connecting I-70 at the I-55/I-64/I-70 interchange on the Illinois side to I-70 near Cass Avenue on the Missouri side.

The nearly $667 million project, which began in 2008 with an agreement between Illinois and Missouri, will have a significant impact on transportation in the St. Louis region, as well as enhance travel and economic opportunities for the metropolitan area.


UPDATE:
Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Span Connected
As light showers moved through the St. Louis area Friday morning, bridge crews carefully guided the final steel floor beam (86 feet long, six feet tall, weighing 30,000 lbs) into position on the deck of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Span Connected
(L - R) Sadie (age 4), daughter of Cynthia Biernbaum, and Will Paterson (age 9), grandson of Steve Englemeyer, enjoyed having their picture taken with reporter Kim Hudson, who was covering the historic event for KTVI - Fox2News. Visitors found relief from the showers in the Mullanphy Pump House to watch the final steel floor beam being lowered onto the deck of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. Photos by Bob Moore, SLFP.com

MoDOT Tests Plan to Warn I-70 Drivers of Slower Traffic Ahead
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), July 22, 2013 - The Missouri Department of Transportation is testing a new plan to try to reduce the number of interstate crashes caused by drivers rear-ending slowed or stopped traffic.

On July 22, the department will begin a test project to share certain speed information on electronic overhead dynamic message signs (DMS) on I-70 from St. Charles County to downtown.

When average speeds on I-70 decrease to less than the posted speed limit, MoDOT will automatically display a variable advisory speed message on the DMS that the speeds ahead are significantly reduced.

MoDOT traffic engineers said this message is intended to get drivers' attention and encourage them to slow down before they reach slowed or possibly stopped traffic ahead of them. MoDOT currently displays travel times on its most of its overhead boards. That information will remain. The variable advisory speed information posted on the I-70 signs will appear on the third line.

"We believe this information, combined with the travel times on the boards can help drivers make decisions about speed that will lower the number of rear-end type crashes that occur daily on our roadways," said Tom Blair, MoDOT's assistant district engineer in St. Louis.

Blair said the variable advisory speed message is just the latest effort in MoDOT's regional approach to managing traffic and providing safety information to motorists.


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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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