Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Transportation announced plans to install a “Park Over the Highway” in St. Louis, Missouri – and the project just broke ground! An area near the iconic Gateway Arch will be transformed into a public park that stretches over Interstate 70, which has divided the city from the Mississippi waterfront for the past 50 years. The $380 million renovation project will be carried out by KCI Construction Company and it will introduce new roads, pedestrian and bike paths and rich plant life to the area.
The Park Over the Highway is expected to be highly beneficial to the community – it will not cause significant environmental impact and it will help create new jobs and increase access for locals and tourists. The project will be funded entirely from public sources such as federal grants and taxes as well as by supporters like the CityArchRiver Foundation.
However, there are concerns among locals about the project’s actual benefits. Some claim the plan will make no significant improvement. Instead of building the park over the interstate, Grassroot organizations suggest that the elevated section of the I-70 should be removed completely and replaced with a grade-level boulevard that would help integrate the city and its waterfront. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the project for the new park doesn’t include the removal of the interstate because of the I-70’s role in enabling access to the Arch grounds.