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MoDOT looks to improve St. Louis bridges and interchanges along I-64 corridor

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Brian Munoz
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Cars drive toward the Interstate 64 and Forest Park Avenue/Grand Boulevard interchange on Friday in Midtown. The Future64 project seeks to improve bridges and interchanges along a three-mile stretch of the road.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is proposing three improvement options along I-64 to make the corridor safer for St. Louisans who walk, bike or take public transit, and less confusing for drivers.

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Called Future64, the project would improve bridges and interchanges along a three-mile stretch of the interstate.

The Transportation Department has $100 million worth of bridge maintenance to complete in the next few years, said MoDOT’s St. Louis-area engineer Jen Wade.

“Whatever we do on bridges stays there for the next 50 to 70 years,” she said. “We want to make sure what we put there lasts that long and that we like it.”

Last year, the department did a full safety analysis with a focus on pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit users who travel east and west between Kingshighway and Jefferson Street, and north and south between Forest Park and Chouteau avenues.

“Safety on the roadways has been a big concern in the city of St. Louis lately,” Wade said.

The region saw 178 people killed and 14,000 people injured in traffic crashes in St. Louis and St. Louis County in 2021.

“We hear a lot about people speeding right now.” Wade said. “That's a big area of concern along the corridor.”

The first option would not change the road layout and has the least access to MetroLink stations, but it creates a new north-south connection on Theresa Avenue to I-64.

Option 2 creates bus-only lanes on Grand Boulevard between Chouteau and Forest Park avenues, but it has a high cost for improvements to the local transportation system.

Option 3 has the most major changes and highest costs, but it would benefit the most users.

Wade said the improvements would also help make intersections and interchanges less confusing for drivers. The eastbound interstate exits for Grand Boulevard and Market Street are particularly unclear for people who aren’t from the city.

“Why do we get off at the Market Street exit before the Grand [Boulevard] exit when we're coming eastbound? That's weird,” she said. “This is not standard interchange design.”

Right now, MoDOT is in a planning phase, taking public comment throughout the year and performing an environmental survey to determine the needs and goals of the project.

“Do we have bicycle and pedestrian pinch points? Is the highway creating a barrier for people to cross over the highway? These are the kinds of questions we ask,” Wade said.

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Britny Cordera is a poet and journalist based in St. Louis and is currently serving as a newsroom intern at St. Louis Public Radio.

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