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.
As part of the I-64 project, MoDOT will:
- replace the Taylor, Newstead, Tower Grove, and Boyle bridges over I-64
- convert the half interchange at Boyle into a full interchange by adding two new highway ramps to the west
- lower the height of I-64 by as much as 3 feet between Taylor and Newstead to improve sight distances
- raise Newstead 6 feet to accommodate an exit ramp passing underneath
- create a roundabout at the intersection of Tower Grove and the eastbound I-64 exit ramp
The full interchange at Tower Grove and Boyle is the key element of the I-64 project. As the existing interchange at Kingshighway is extremely congested most of the day, officials hope that the new highway ramps will become an attractive alternative for people going to and from the area.
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 being 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.
Cross-posted at nextSTL.