Since January 2, 2008, St. Louis residents have had to live with a major inconvenience.
Portions of Hwy 40/64 been shut down for almost 2 years. This highway was built in the 1930s when traffic was much lighter and the city planners decided that it was time to bring it up to today’s standards. Rather than limiting traffic to a single lane in each direction and having the construction occur with traffic whizzing by, a plan was announced that would shut down traffic in all lanes, both directions, to reduce costs by getting the work done much faster.
You can imagine the outcry.
I was one of them. We all thought the sky was falling. Businesses planned for satellite offices and discussed giving employees flex time or allowing them to work from home. Restaurants and stores in the construction zone feared they would go out of business. Turning lanes were added on nearby 2 lane streets and traffic signals replaced stop signs.
2 Years Later:
Tomorrow, the construction project will be complete and drivers will be able to travel from downtown St. Louis to the West County and St. Charles suburbs without having to detour off the highway.
Since becoming a blogger, I’ve picked up the habit of photographing anything interesting around town. In February 2009, I took this picture from the Highland Terrace overpass.
Today, I walked on this stretch of the highway – right smack in the middle of the road. The entire community was invited to walk, bike, skateboard or roller blade down the brand new highway before it is reopened in the wee hours tonight. I missed the re-opening of the western half of the construction project last December due to crummy weather. Today’s weather was cold, but nothing that a warm coat couldn’t handle.
Young and old, everyone seemed to have a good time.
See more pictures of the highway re-opening day…
I also shot some video to capture the experience. I threw it together quickly, but I actually think I’m starting to get a little better at the video thing.
(FYI…the people in the long line in the middle of the highway were waiting to buy coffee!)
Video shot using a Flip Video Camera
And for those of you who are history buffs, watch the video below by Living St. Louis on the history of the highway.