JAN. 30, 2012 -- In what's being called a critical step in the redevelopment of the area surrounding the Gateway Arch, CityArchRiver has announced that work is beginning on a park covering the depressed lanes of I-70 between the Old Courthouse and the Gateway Arch.
CityArchRiver 2015 began as a design competition to make the Jefferson National Expansion Museum a more accessible and vital part of downtown St. Louis. The winning design, created by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates, features a new entrance to an expanded museum space under the Gateway Arch, additional recreational opportunities for the area, and additional green space surrounding the Arch, including a green space "cap" over I-70.
In his remarks to community members, Gullivar Shepard, associate principal for Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates, identified the crucial role the park over I-70 has in achieving the project's full potential.
"A park over the highway is probably the most important piece of the whole puzzle," said Shepard. "It is a great big move, which humanizes and strengthens the link between the city and the new museum entry, and a central tenet of what the original Arch designers, Eero Saarinen and Dan Kiley, wanted to achieve. Following on this move, projects on the Arch grounds, especially the reflecting ponds and north gateway landscapes, will also enhance the experience of the Arch grounds for everyone."
Currently, $57.2 million has been secured for work on I-70 connections surrounding the Arch grounds, and Missouri Department of Transportation has solicited engineering proposals for the work. MoDOT expects construction to be completed prior to October 2015.
CityArchRiver also announced a new partnership with Great Rivers Greenway to elevate Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard by about 2.5 feet, further raising it above flood stage, said Ryan McClure, communications director for the CityArchRiver Foundation. "The road gets flooded during peak season. Raising it will eliminate 60 to 70 percent of those flood occurances," McClure said.
Great Rivers Greenway, which has committed $15 million to the project, will also expand the riverfront from Biddle Street to Chouteau Avenue, connecting the arch grounds to the Confluence, Mississippi and Chouteau greenways.
"Great Rivers Greenway District's involvement in the riverfront is an important step in delivering our mission of making St. Louis a better place to live for everyone," said Susan Trautman, Great Rivers Greenway executive director. "By energizing the riverfront between Chouteau Avenue and Biddle Street and raising Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard to reduce flooding occurrences, we will provide a place that residents and visitors can gather and be active on a regular basis as well as connect to the existing trail system."