Tuesday’s post was about removing a mile section of interstate highway (currently marked as I-70) after the new Mississippi River Bridge opens in 2014.Â The main objection many people have is the loss of a primary North-South route if the depressed lanes are removed.Â For the benefit of own of town readers let me explain the depressing depressed lanes:
Just North of the above the highway comes up to create an above grade barrier.Â We have the opportunity to connect what remains of the downtown street grid to the East until it hits either the Arch grounds or, North of Washington Ave, the grid of Laclede’s Landing.Â East-West traffic following I-70 will cross the Mississippi River North of the Arch rather than the South currently. An example is driving from Louisville, KY to Kansas City, MO:
As you can see from the current map drivers do an extra little jog to the South to cross on the Poplar Street Bridge. The new span will correct this so their route is more direct.Â Drivers going from Memphis, TN to Kansas City, MO can go via I-70 through downtown:
But the route through downtown is not the best route for through drivers.Â The suggested route on Google Maps takes motorists around the edge of the metro area:
This route is shorter in both distance and time.Â Through traffic will be handled via the new bridge and existing alternate routes. This leaves local traffic as primary users of the existing North-South route separating downtown from the Arch, Mississippi River and Laclede’s Landing.Â More than those passing through, locals know alternate routes to take to avoid the depressed lanes downtown.
Scenario #1: 55 & Bates to airport:
- I-70 through downtown: 20.2 miles,Â 21 minutes (30 in traffic)
- 44/Maplewood/I-170: 23.3 miles, 30 min (40 in traffic)
- 55/Truman/Market/Jefferson/70: 20.3Â mi, about 31 mins
- River des Peres to I-170: 20.6 mi, about 34 mins
Scenerio #2: Lemay Ferry & Revis to airport:
- I-55 N and I-70 W: 25.3 mi, 26 mins (35 mins in traffic)
- I-55 S to 270 N to I-70: 27.1 mi, 32 mins (40 mins in traffic)
As we saw with two years of construction on I-64, motorists are resilient. Between a more friendly grade-level Memorial Drive, 4th, Broadway, Jefferson and a rebuilt Tucker (North of Washington) we will have numerous North-South routes to handle our local traffic.
– Steve Patterson