Leaders of the multi-pronged plan to transform the Gateway Arch Grounds and surrounding streets downtown gave their fourth presentation in as many years Wednesday about the progress and challenges faced so far on the $380 million project.
Maggie Hales, Executive Director for the CityArchRiver2015 Foundation, which spearheads the project’s fundraising and design work, downplayed new delays predicted by the National Parks Service in a recent report. Hales characterized the delays, that extend the project’s timeline by about seven months, as being largely insignificant when compared to the vast majority of work that will be completed by mid 2016.
By then, MoDOT plans to have completed a park spanning over the adjacent stretch of I-70 and raised Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard on the riverfront by about 2 and a half feet to reduce flooding.
Hales said the underground Museum of Westward Expansion will also be reopened by then with only minor work still remaining.
“All the exhibits are going to be done,” said Hales. “The museum west entrance will be done; the new ticketing will be ready; the new security will be ready,” she said. “So 99 percent of the museum experience will be ready.”
Hales said remaining work will include renovating restrooms and completing the museum’s wall of ticketing booths.
Since breaking ground last August, said Hales, all the projects under construction or going out to bid in the next few months are “either on budget or under budget.”
“We’re really in the process of preparing final construction documentation for everything," she said, "to get it packaged up and then advertise it. Then contractors can bid on the work after that,” she said.
Project leaders had initially hoped to finish the entire redevelopment project by October of 2015 -- the Arch’s 50th anniversary. That target was pushed back six-months last November.