Because of its central location and proximity to the Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers, St. Louis serves as a major freight corridor. Ten years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to see wait times of 45 minutes or more on the Poplar Street Bridge, which carries traffic and freight from I-64, I-55, and I-70 across the Mississippi River into St. Louis.
The solution: an $801 million collaborative effort between the Missouri Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Transportation that included the relocation of one interstate to a new, four-lane cable bridge named the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. The new bridge gave the region some much-needed “breathing room” and allowed the states to make significant improvements to the Poplar Street Bridge, including new lane ramps on the bridge and an extra lane between the City of St. Louis and St. Clair County, Illinois. A park replaced what was the existing interstate, with bicycle and pedestrian access, providing travel options to access the Mississippi River.
This project also gave the department an opportunity to better connect the core of Downtown St. Louis with the iconic St. Louis Arch.
With these improvements, completed in 2019, St. Louis witnessed up to a 30 percent increase in traffic across the river – helping improve the economy and tourism across the city. The series of projects earned MoDOT and IDOT the 2019 Grand Prize in the America’s Transportation Awards competition as the nation’s best project.
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