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Pedestrian 'lid' over highway on track for Arch improvements

Pedestrian 'lid' over highway on track for Arch improvements


ST. LOUIS • In an update today on the project to improve the Gateway Arch riverfront park, leaders said they are confident of completing "major elements" by their self-imposed deadline of fall 2015.

That includes the long-discussed pedestrian walkway, or "lid," over the below-ground lanes of Interstate 70 at the riverfront park. But they said they didn’t know how much they can finish of a planned expansion on the East St. Louis riverfront, and said they wouldn’t be ready with a an aerial gondola ride across the Mississippi River.

CityArchRiver2015, the local foundation pushing to improve and expand the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, wants to finish work by Oct. 28, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the topping of the Gateway Arch.

Michael Van Valkenburgh, lead architect of the design team, and Vern Remiger, a consulting architect to CityArchRiver2015, provided updates while speaking today to about 140 local architects at the Forest Park visitors’ center.

The foundation estimates the project budget at $578 million, much of it to be raised through private donations.

One year ago, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates of New York won the foundation-sponsored design competition to improve the riverfront park, make it more accessible to pedestrians and expand it across the Mississippi River to the East St. Louis riverfront.

Van Valkenburgh said they had been working since January primarily on engineering details of the plan with national park officials, state highway engineers and St. Louis officials.

Remiger took the question about deadline. Citing the pedestrian "lid" across the below-ground lanes of Interstate 70, new landscaping for the riverfront park and a redone, busier Kiener Plaza downtown, Remiger said, "These are very doable items by 2015. Our goal is to get those major elements done by 2015."

But Van Valkenburgh said of the proposed gondola ride over the river, "That will not be done by 2015." He said the foundation is negotiating to buy land for the planned expansion on the East Side riverfront and, but warned that finishing construction there "will be a challenge."

The session today was with about 140 people, most of whom are members of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects.

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Tim O'Neil is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Related to this story

Leaders of the effort to reshape and expand the Gateway Arch riverfront park promised to achieve their goals but hedged on how much will be finished by 2015 deadline.

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