The Walnut Street Bridge downtown near the Gateway Arch reopens Friday afternoon along with a new permanent traffic configuration.
MoDOT has been working over the past two months to replace the span with a wider, two-way bridge over I-44 as part of the CityArchRiver2015 redevelopment project.
On both sides of the highway, Memorial Drive will be permanently rerouted to make way for the new park that will bridge the Arch Grounds to the rest of downtown, said MoDOT engineer Deanna Venker.
“So, northbound Memorial [Drive] will be closed from Walnut Ave. to the north and then southbound Memorial [Drive] will be closed between Market [Street] and Chestnut [Street],” she said.
The other side of Memorial Drive, said Venker, will be reversed between Walnut Street and Market Street as well as between Chestnut Street and Pine Street to flow traffic around Luther Ely Smith Park.
According to Venker, the roadway shifts are scheduled to occur around 1 p.m.
“We didn’t want folks to go ‘well, this is temporary and this is temporary,’ and then we’d have to redirect our visitors and the residents and the businesses which way to go,” she said.
“We wanted to be able to do one switch, get them in their final configuration and then reopen.”
The park over the highway is slated for completion early next year, while the entire CityArchRiver2015 project is expected to be finished in 2016.