Friday, August 20, 2010

I-70 will be GONE from Downtown St. Louis in 2014

I-70 Relocation.jpg
In february 2014, Interstate 70 will be officially be removed from Downtown St. Louis. Yes thats right, I-70 will be GONE south of Cass Avenue once the New I-70 Bridge across the Mississippi is complete just north of Downtown. The map from City to River above shows how Interstate 70 will be diverted across the new dedicated bridge into Illinois. What will be left will be an orphaned stretch of highway along the route shown in blue.

The New I-70 Bridge over the Mississippi River is under construction right now. In fact, work north of Downtown on the Missouri approach to the main bridge structure is underway right now. You can check out the progress in this video below (complete with cheesy music!)

Construction of the new bridge is not new news, but at the City to River event Wednesday night at the Tap Room, I was surprised to learn how many people do not realize what this does. The new I-70 bridge is not simply a reliever for the interstate, it is a total relocation of Interstate 70. This relocation makes possible the removal of the stretch of highway between Cass Avenue to the Poplar Street Bridge because this orphaned and aging infrastructure will become redundant. Replacement of the elevated and depressed lanes highway with an at-grade boulevard transforms a significant barrier into a great connector

As you are likely aware, on Tuesday the proposals of the five finalists in the City+Arch+River Design Competition were revealed. Four out of five of the design teams call for removing the elevated and depressed lanes of what will be the former I-70 as the ultimate solution to reconnecting Downtown St. Louis with the Arch and riverfront!

The public has only one week, ending Monday the 23rd to submit formal comments to the competition jury before they begin their deliberations to choose the winner. 

Please go to the official Competition Comment Form today and let the jury know that they should select a winning entry that supports reconnection by removing the highway and replacing it with a pedestrian friendly boulevard.

My last post began with one of the most depressing photos of St. Louis that I know. Today. I leave you with one from a year later on March 9th, 1965 from a recently posted Post Dispatch gallery called "The Arch as Art". It reflects the unbounded optimism for the future that was shared by St. Louis and the nation at that time. I share that optimism now that St. Louis can overcome the planning mistakes of the past, reconnect to its river birthplace and reopen the front door of the City for next millennium. I hope you do too.

1 comment:

Matt H. said...

I have often wondered what is going to happen to this stretch! What happens to trffic coming up 55 from the south that wants to continue north on 70. Also what about people coming from IL. from Rt 3 through Suget (Where I drive)? Looks like this will double or triple there drive!