ST. LOUIS, MO/May 11, 2017 (STL.News) The section of the newly constructed Kingshighway Bridge in south St. Louis is set to reopen this weekend.
The $21-million dollar project began in July 2015, closing the stretch of road between Shaw Boulevard and Vandeventer/Southwest avenues. This resulted in detours and delays for motorists who frequently travel on this roadway.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned at the new bridge’s south end at 11 a.m. Saturday. Mayor Lyda Krewson, along with other city leaders are scheduled to be in attendance. Motorists will now be able to access four center lanes, two in each direction, on the new six-lane bridge. Two other lanes and sidewalks aren’t expected to re-open until sometime this summer. New landscaping along the stretch is also included in the project.
Crews have been working for nearly two years to replace the nearly 80-year-old deteriorating bridge. The new bridge is 90 feet wide instead of the previous 66 feet. This will allow for three wider lanes of traffic in each direction and wider sidewalks, creating a safer roadway for drivers and pedestrians.
In addition, further improvements have been made to the adjoining streets. Shaw, east of Kingshighway, has been moved farther south than its previous location, eliminating the current “zig-zag” across Kingshighway. Also, a dedicated left turn lane will allow Southbound Kingshighway to turn East on Shaw.
The construction has been delayed by about a month, partly due to adverse weather conditions. Crews also ran into an obstacle when they encountered unknown underground utilities. City officials also say the limited availability of the lightweight fill material has also created delays. The retaining walls are constructed and anchored into lightweight fill. This is aimed at preventing settlement damage to buildings around the new Kingshighway bridge.
The cement-like material weighs less than 20 percent of conventional earth fill, but has similar weather sensitivity to normal concrete, so rain and cold weather affect when placement can occur.
The demolition and construction of the new bridge was funded by the Federal Highway Administration and Union Pacific Railroad.