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Poll: Should The Existing Ramp From I-70 Onto The Poplar Street Bridge Be Retained After The New Bridge Opens? (Updated)

May 27, 2012 Featured, Metro East, Politics/Policy, Transportation 10 Comments

MoDOT wants to remove the ramp from SB I-70 to the Poplar Street Bridge after the new Mississippi River Bridge opens in 2014, but not everyone likes the idea:

Plans to re-route Interstate 70 over the new Mississippi River Bridge are facing a roadblock from stakeholders in the Metro East. The $55 million project includes eliminating the east-bound ramp that connects Interstates 70 and 44 to the Poplar Street Bridge.

 St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern told the East-West Gateway Council of Governments Wednesday that cutting access to the bridge would strangle an already struggling economy. (St. Louis Public Radi0)

Many use this ramp daily.  .

ABOVE: Existing ramp onto the Poplar Street Bridge (PSB) heading eastbound to Illinois

Some say any change at all could jeopardize funding. The poll this week asks your thoughts on these ramp, vote in the right sidebar.

UPDATE  5/27/2012 11am

Post & oll was rephrased, the prior poll answers were reset to zero.


– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    I think you’re confused.  These are the current plans – http://www.modot.org/stlouis/major_projects/PoplarStreetRampproject.htm – would convert the existing northbound ramp from I-55 to the eastbound side of the PSB from a one-lane ramp to a two-lane ramp, and would rebuild the current ramp from the westbound PSB onto southbound I-55 as a two-lane ramp with a bigger radius.  (I-55 would continue to cross the Mississippi River using the PSB.)

    I-44 currently ends at I-55.  It does not technically connect to the Poplar Street Bridge, making your questions about connecting I-44 and I-70 confusing and/or irrelevant.

    The issue St. Clair County has only involves getting Illinois traffic out of downtown, not in, since the plan is to remove the current ramp from SB I-70 to EB I-64.  (The existing ramp from WB I-64 to NB what-is-now I-70 would be retained.)  Instead of being able to use SB Memorial to access the PSB, motorists wanting to get to the PSB would have to circle around and use the ramp from Broadway (off Gratiot St.).  They would essentially lose half of their existing access (one of two ramps), since there will not be full ramps on the east end of the new Mississippi River Bridge, in Illinois, and the next access ramps onto eastbound PSB, in Missouri, would be at 7th & Park (onto I-55) or at 21st & Pine (onto I-64, using the interchange we want removed).

    • JZ is right. The plans and complaints concern the I-70 ramps connecting Illinois to the airport. St. Clair County is worried about losing easy access to and from downtown, as well. The 6th St entrance and the 9th St exit are apparently too inconvenient.

    • When the new bridge opens I-70 will cross the river there. The stretch between downtown and the Arch will be labeled 44, 55 or both. My poll question is based on the referenced news story.

      • The news story is misleading. MoDOT wants to convert to widen the I-55 ramps to and from the PSB to 2 lanes wide. The only way to do that is to remove the eastbound I-70 (soon to be I-44) ramp to the PSB. St. Clair County doesn’t like that. And supposedly, the NPS isn’t happy with the replaced PSB to westbound PSB ramp encroaching further onto the Arch grounds property than the existing ramp.

      • JZ71 says:

        Your first sentence is not correct:  “MoDOT wants to make the Poplar Street Bridge serve only I-64 motorists after the new Mississippi River Bridge opens in 2014”.  It will continue to serve BOTH I-55 and I-64. 

        Yes, I-70 will be rerouted, over the new bridge, and the current depressed section, should it remain, will be renumbered as I-44, up to I-70 and the new bridge.  However, referring to the depressed section as I-44, before it’s actually redesignated, is confusing, especially when it’s known as I-70 now and two of the potential answers refer to I-70!

        What’s confusing in the poll (besides I-44 vs. I-55) is the basic question, “Should the eastbound ramps from I-70 and I-44 onto the Poplar Street Bridge be retained after the new bridge opens?”  There are no plans to eliminate eastbound ramp from northbound I-44 (or I-55), there are only plans to eliminate the southbound ramp from the current I-70 / new I-44.

  2. JZ71 says:

    What would likely be a good solution would be to construct a new ramp from Broadway in East St. Louis onto southbound I-55 and I-64.  This would give St. Clair County residents direct access from the Eads Bridge (which they don’t have now) to everything they have access to now on the east end of the Poplar Street Bridge.  The “problem” is which pot of money the construction costs would have to come out of? Illinois (this idea) or Missouri (keeping the existing ramp) . . . .

  3. Tpekren says:

    My understanding is it represents 7% of traffic at most coming and going into downtown and as noted, there is options available to commuters and won’t significantly impact time. 

    As far as MoDOT’s plan, I think it is a good one and should follow through with it.  I think MoDOT is ready to put I-70 on the New Mississippi River Bridge as it should be and a small group in Metro East are fighting a fight over a few minutes.  Time for the region move on with this ramp plan as well as at least removing the raised section of I70 downtown when MRB is built.  Unfortunately, the East West Gateway is week organization that is unwilling to upset the apple cart between the two states.

  4. Stlplanr says:

    Removing the ramps to/from existing I-70 put the region one step closer to removing the entire freeway from PSB to new MRB.

  5. JZ71 says:

    Upon further review – http://www.newriverbridge.org/img/tri-level.jpg – it appears that there will be no direct way (without using surface streets) to get from the new I-70 bridge, eastbound or westbound, to/from I-55 in East St. Louis, Illinois, which probably is as disconcerting to St. Clair County as is reducing access to downtown St. Louis, Missouri.  Part of this is money – more ramps cost more – and part of this is complexity – the Illinois interchange also provides access to St. Clair Avenue and 9th Street in the same area, while being hemmed in by railroad tracks, to the north and west.

    I’m guessing the real issue remains access to/from Illinois Route 3, south of the Poplar Street Bridge.  Today, leaving downtoiwn St. Louis, it’s possible/easy to use either the Eads Bridge or the MLK Bridge to reach 3rd or Main Street in East St. Louis, then to turn right, continue south on the existing frontage roads, and to have direct access to both Tudor Avenue and to Illinois Route 3.  I’m also guessing that these routes would be quicker, most days, than fighting rush hour traffic on the PSB.  The hitch probably is the driving through East St. Louis part – it’s probably just too scary for some commuters, even though it’s less congested and quicker, and that’s why county officials are fighting so hard for a ramp in Missouri, instead of fixing the perceptions/realities on their side of the river.


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