MoDOT is getting ready to begin major work on I-64 between Kingshighway and Sarah. The project is essentially a continuation of the I-64 rebuild that closed segments of the highway between Spoede and Kingshighway in 2008 and 2009. Environmental studies for that project looked at rebuilding I-64 from Spoede to Sarah, but cost considerations forced MoDOT to delay work on the segment east of Kingshighway until next year.
The I-64 project:
- replace the Taylor, Newstead, Tower Grove, and Boyle bridges over I-64
- add a westbound entry ramp to westbound exit ramp at Boyle
- lower I-64 by as much as 3 feet between Taylor and Newstead to improve sight distances
- raise Newstead 6 feet to accommodate exit ramp passing underneath
- create roundabout at intersection of Tower Grove Avenue and I-64 ramp
The modified full interchange at Tower Grove and Boyle is a key element of the I-64 project. As the existing interchange at Kingshighway experiences significant congested. Officials hope that the new highway ramps will become an attractive alternative for people going to and from the area. The area will remain a bit convoluted as Boyle will accommodate westbound on/off ramps, the new eastbound exit will connect to Tower Grove Avenue and the eastbound entrance ramp to I-64 will remain a block to the east off Papin.
BJC is particularly interested in the new highway ramps and anticipates that the interchange will give many employees and visitors a faster route to the hospital complex and will support medical center expansion further east. The interchange will provide nearly direct access to the delayed, but still planned Shriner’s Hospital. BJC is contributing money for the project in a cost share agreement with MoDOT.
The new bridges over I-64 will include standard 12-ft lanes and 6-ft sidewalks, similar to what exists today, but with improved lighting, decorative fencing and improved ADA accessibility. The sidewalks will be wider than what currently exists, but unfortunately no other improvements are anticipated to better connect the BJC medical center north of I-64 with the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood to the south.
The bulk of the construction work on I-64 is not anticipated to begin until January 2013 and will last until early 2014 with full completion of improvements in 2015. The new interchange is the next step in an effort to improve accessibility to the growing medical center. A new MetroLink station is still be sought and will be located nearby at either Boyle or Sarah Avenue. The project is adjacent to several other efforts in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, including a planned, but dormant effort to build a new park bordered by Chouteau, Newstead, Tower Grove and I-64.