Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Opens

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140 years after the first crossing at St. Louis opened, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge opened to great joy and fanfare Saturday. Runners and bikers took to the bridge in the morning, then pedestrians after noon. A ribbon cutting was held, emceed by Dan McLaughlin featuring numerous politicians, the Secretary of Transportation, governors, senators, congressmen, and a MoDOT and IDOT official. The speeches were kept mercifully short by the cold weather. The event was capped off by a short parade lead by the Color Guard and the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Ribbon Cutting

With an eagle flying over head, Walking the bridge, just like when walking under the Arch, the awe of it all touches your soul. America can build great things.

City of St. Louis Sign

Stan Bridge Tower

While we know we are capable, we must look past the grandeur and carefully consider how much, what type, the location of, and how to pay for our infrastructure needs and wants. In my field of engineering we always prioritize. Given our time and budget what are would likes and what are must haves? What will be the biggest bang for the buck? How do we best connect our places with the rest of the country and the world? Perhaps bigger and more isn’t always better. Perhaps the human scale is more productive than the grand scale.

I70 Shield

St. louis Rail Map IDOTThe new bridge carries I-70. We will now see its impact. Will its landing north of downtown spur development? Will traffic counts drop so much in the depressed and elevated sections that keeping them becomes an obvious “would like?”

The next must have for the region will be a new railroad bridge. Our newest rail bridge turns 100 years old in 2017. The Merhchants Bridge, while double-tracked, is only allowed one train at a time. The MacArthur is often congested. I suggest a four track bridge just north of the MacArthur with two tracks for passenger rail capable of being electrified and two tracks for freight. How to pay for it? Hopefully a deal between USDOT, MoDOT, IDOT, and the railroads can be struck. Can we afford it? As with all these things we should consider is costs and rewards against all the other things we want.

Stan Bridge Approach

It was a great day. The public came out in force to see the this great addition to the skyline and pay tribute to its namesake.

Stan Bridge Sign

STL Skyline

Clydesdales

Orphaned I-70

Images from Mark Groth, St. Louis City Talk:

Images from newriverbridge.com:

The first bridge crossing of the Mississippi River at St. Louis:

 

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  • STLEnginerd

    ” I suggest a four track bridge just north of the MacArthur with two tracks for passenger rail capable of being electrified and two tracks for freight.”

    Do you really want to drive more freight rail through the heart of the city? I thought the concept for Chouteau’s Greenway planned to reroute freight rail around the city center. Its a hard enough plan to get off the ground, but if you put a new rail bridge through there, you can kiss the plan goodbye. I would think the better route would be a new freight rail bridge either north or south of downtown and convert the Macarthur over to primarily passenger rail.

    • rgbose

      I haven’t looked at the problem in a lot of detail. Moving tracks is really expensive. And given how the mainlines approach the city from the west a reroute would be a considerable undertaking and may require the kind of demo the highways required and that we lament today. So putting a new bridge by the MacArthur seemed the obvious choice to me. Top priority for me is that passenger trains continue to cross there because you get the best view of downtown from the MacArthur!

  • guest

    It feels like the Illinois approach really takes you out of your way. A lot of people will just keep using the Poplar Street Bridge.

    • STLEnginerd

      I think the bridge will capture the people heading north on 70 and maybe few people that work in north downtown. Most people heading downtown or to clayton will continue to use eads, milk, or psb. That’s still plenty of traffic off the psb.

      • STLEnginerd

        And off the depressed lanes btw.

  • Craig lewis

    That will be the last time a pedestrian ever walks across that bridge. What a huge disappointment to spend so much money to move cars and forget about bicyclists and pedestrians. The Cooper River bridge in Charleston, SC turned their multi-use path into a major tourist attraction. $695 million and no sidewalk. Inexcusable.

    • Adam

      or at the very least a viewing platform extending halfway out into the river.