Readers will probably have two reactions to the discussion of the closure of the five entrances and exits in this post. It will either be, “I’ve never heard of these in my entire life,” or “Oh no, those were my favorite secret ways in and out of downtown!” Regardless, with the final agreement on the new soccer stadium northwest of Union Station, five entrances and exits are closing forever. The one above, from Evans Avenue to eastbound Highway 40, I-64, is shown above. It was too close to Jefferson Avenue, which is being upgraded along with a new interchange at 22nd Street. It was never properly engineered to be safe. I used it once or twice a year. Below was the “3000 Market Street” exit from westbound Highway 40. Some people used it to get to Grand Center, but it is being removed as well due to it being too close to the new Jefferson Avenue and Forest Park Avenue exit. The annoying traffic light that interfered with Market Street will be removed as well.
The last “three” entrances and exits are really remnants of what was supposed to be an interstate that would have wrapped around downtown, hooking up in the south at the intersection with interstates 44 and 55, going north crossing over Highway 40 and finally crashing into I-70 near the McKinley Bridge in Hyde Park. You can read my article at St. Louis Magazine about it here. It also resulted in the Gateway Mall having a depressing an anticlimactic ending in the park below. It would have been disastrous if it had been completed.
Below is the huge hole left by the preliminary construction of 755. The soccer stadium will go right where you are looking.
The first ramp we’ll look at is the eastbound Highway 40 exit to Chestnut Street. As you can see to the left below, the concrete was laid for the northbound 755 lanes, never used. The horribly deteriorated curving lanes to the right are exit onto Chestnut Street.
Note all the marks and tire tracks from people running into the walls and dirt.
This is where the exit ramp ended, and “connected” with the street grid at 18th Street.
Walking west, we come to the huge Market Street overpass that would have taken the major artery over 755. It is horribly deteriorated due to being around fifty years old. Yes, the popular QAEKR makes an appearance, now introducing Little Debbie.
I lost track of the number of places where someone crashed into something. This is the result of somebody not turning but instead going straight ahead when exiting onto Market from the westbound Highway 40 exit.
There it is, looking across Market, where the traffic now speeds for a good half mile due to the traffic light being turned off.
But look at the views! This is a wonderful location for a stadium, and I hope the architects have taken advantage of sightlines in their design.
Thankfully this bridge, which is falling apart, will be torn down and filled in with the new interchange at Jefferson and 22nd Street. I am really happy that a lot of the street grid is being restored.
I wonder what the concrete looked like before this final restoration, below, where the off-ramp ended.
Look at how bad of shape this ramp was in; there was so much rebar exposed.
Finally, there was the Pine Street entrance onto westbound Highway 40, seen below. Pine Street is being vacated between 18th Street and 22nd for the stadium, and considering I never saw anyone ever use it, I’m cautiously fine with that.
Here’s more of the original right-of-way of the northbound 755 lanes, incorporated into the Chestnut Street exit. That concrete was never used.
Union Station was looking resplendent in the afternoon winter sun.