Five I-64 Ramps To Close To Revamp St. Louis Streets Near MLS Stadium, NGA | St. Louis Public Radio

Five I-64 Ramps To Close To Revamp St. Louis Streets Near MLS Stadium, NGA

Dec 19, 2019

Five highway ramps connecting Interstate 64 to streets just west of Union Station in St. Louis will close in early spring 2020. 

The closures are part of a project that aims to better feed commuters to two major planned construction projects: the new western headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and a Major League Soccer stadium.

The Missouri Department of Transportation and St. Louis’ Board of Public Service will collaborate and share costs for the project. Representatives of the agencies say they hope to complete construction in time for the soccer team’s planned debut in spring 2022. 

MoDOT has set aside $27 million for its portion of the project but won’t estimate a final cost until next year, a department spokesman said. The city is working to acquire a federal grant that would pay 80% of the $17 million in proposed street improvements, city officials said. 

MoDOT engineer Michelle Forneris said the project will make driving in the western end of downtown more intuitive by reconnecting streets to the city grid and streamlining routes onto and off of the interstate. 

“Reconfiguring this makes it a lot more friendly and understandable to drivers where they enter and exit,” she said. “It opens up this opportunity to really shrink that interstate footprint that exists today.” 

MoDOT will replace the old ramps with several new ones that take up less space. Jefferson Avenue will also gain exits and entrances for both east- and westbound traffic. 

The city will reconnect portions of the city grid such as 22nd Street, which is currently cut off by highway ramps and developments. The project will also connect pedestrian and bike pathways to the area surrounding the stadium, which is planned to be built on Market Street just northwest of Union Station. City officials said the number of parking spots near the stadium will not markedly change. 

This map provided by the City of St. Louis shows recommended detour routes for drivers during construction in the area that surrounds the interchange between Jefferson Avenue and Interstate 64.
Credit City of St. Louis

Connecting to the stadium

Visitors at an open house hosted by the city and the MLS ownership group on Thursday said they were looking forward to the stadium’s completion.

Robert Schnieders came from Creve Coeur to learn more about the planned MLS project. He said that even though the stadium looks “shoehorned in,” he thinks the project seems promising. 

“This has residual benefits for everybody. From season ticket holders to people that want to go to the game to the guy with the bar to the guy with a restaurant — everybody, it’s a win. And God knows St. Louis needs it,” he said.

The stadium project hit an unexpected snag earlier this week when Missouri officials balked at granting it $30 million in tax credits. 

MoDOT and St. Louis officials said that the streets projects were approved as part of the larger plans to update infrastructure for the NGA headquarters and do not depend on stadium financing. 

A spokesman for the MLS owners group at the open house declined to comment on the progress of the stadium project. 

The city is collecting public comments about the stadium project online and in paper until Jan. 7.

Ramp Closures

The city has planned detours for commuters to avoid ongoing construction. City officials said that the recommended routes will direct drivers away from crowded streets and toward underused highway ramps. 

The following ramps will close permanently starting Feb. 3, 2020: 

I-64 Westbound

  • Entrance ramp from Pine Street and Market Street
  • Exit 39 at Market Street

I-64 Eastbound

  • Entrance ramp from South Ewing Ave.
  • Entrance ramp from Pine Street and Market Street
  • Exit 38B at North 20th Street and Chestnut Street

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