ST. LOUIS • After a nine-month shutdown for construction, a normally busy stretch of Forest Park Parkway west of Kingshighway is expected to reopen Friday, city officials say.

Drivers also will be able to use the reconfigured intersection between the two streets, which was the main goal of the construction project.

The parkway, which for decades ran underneath Kingshighway near BJC’s Barnes-Jewish Hospital, has been raised to be at grade with Kingshighway, creating a traditional intersection.

The project also included replacement of the parkway bridge over MetroLink tracks west of Kingshighway.

While the construction was ongoing, eastbound Forest Park Parkway was closed between Des Peres Avenue and Kingshighway while westbound lanes were shut down from Kingshighway to DeBaliviere Avenue.

The closure blocked through traffic on a key east-west thoroughfare between Clayton and the Central West End.

The project was requested by BJC, which provided $5 million of the cost. Kicking in $2.5 million was the Washington University School of Medicine. A $2.5 million federal grant paid for the bridge work.

A statement on BJC’s website says the old tunnel configuration made it “challenging” for drivers accessing the medical center, the Central West End and Forest Park because of limited turns to and from the two streets.

Motorists heading east on the parkway couldn’t turn to northbound Kingshighway while drivers on Kingshighway couldn’t get to westbound lanes on the parkway.

Officials say the change also aims to improve pedestrian safety, including at Forest Park and Euclid avenues a block to the east.

The hospital’s north expansion is increasing the number of people going to that area.

“It was a huge project,” Rich Bradley, who heads the city Board of Public Service, said of the roadwork. “It’s a big win for us to get it done.”

Bradley added that had the parkway not been raised, the underpass would have required rebuilding anyway because of its deteriorated state. “That would have been substantially more expensive,” he said.

The nine-month parkway shutdown was less than the “up to a year” duration that was projected last December. The completion goal was later specified as the end of August.

Viaduct delayed

Farther south on Kingshighway, Bradley said the completion of work on a well-known viaduct south of Interstate 44 has been delayed to mid- to late October.

The four center lanes on that bridge, which connects the city’s South Side to Interstate 44 and Highway 40 (Interstate 64), reopened in May after almost two years of demolition and construction work.

But two other new lanes and sidewalks have yet to be finished; they had been expected to be done by mid- to late summer. The delays involve ornamental barrier walls to be installed on the sides of the bridge, Bradley said.

Wow Air incentives

To help get Wow Air to begin the regular flights from St. Louis to Iceland that were announced last week, local officials pledged $800,000 in marketing incentives plus a waiver of 18 months of landing fees that could amount to $392,000.

But the budget airline, through which travelers can connect from Iceland to several European cities, isn’t getting all the money up front. And it must meet certain requirements.

Jeff Lea, a spokesman for St. Louis Lambert International Airport, said Wow Air must continue flying here for two years after its expected start of service next May to get the landing fees waived.

If it doesn’t meet its two-year obligation, he said, it will be required to pay fees for all its landings.

The marketing money — $200,000 from Lambert and $600,000 from the St. Louis County Port Authority — is to be paid in increments over the same two-year period.

The money wouldn’t go to the airline directly but to ad agencies or other third-party service providers hired by Wow to market its St. Louis service.

The airline’s agreement with the county requires Wow to first win county World Trade Center approval of a comprehensive marketing plan.

Wow could qualify for six quarterly county installments of up to $100,000 each over two years but only after the Lambert incentives were used first.

But an installment would be reduced proportionally if Wow failed to maintain an average of 3.5 departures from Lambert a week during the quarter-year in question. Last week’s announcement said Wow would begin four flights a week on May 17.

The agreement also says the incentive deal terminates if the airline fails to initiate service on the new route by July 1 and does not continuously operate. Ceasing flight operations at Lambert also would void the agreement.

The port authority and the trade center are both part of the city-county Economic Development Partnership.