Update: The on-ramp above has been permanently removed. The Ewing Avenue Bridge was demolished the last week of February 2021 for replacement. The final exit ramp from westbound Highway 40 to Market Street was closed by the winter of 2022.
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 Ewing 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.
I looked at this “superfluous concrete” twice before back here and here.
Union Station was looking resplendent in the afternoon winter sun.
8 Comments Add yours
I agree that the construction of that freeway around downtown would have been catastrophic for many neighborhoods. So I’m glad it was never constructed. I’m annoyed, however, that the site is being used for another sports venue. The plan, it seems, has been to turn downtown into simply a destination for sporting events. These facilities do little to turn around the decline of downtown since they are usually filled with beer swilling suburbanites who purchase $15 hamburgers and when the game is over get in their SUV’s and head back to the ‘burbs’. As usual, the proponents of this stadium tell us that no tax payer funds will be used in it’s construction, but who pays for all the supporting infrastructure improvements? You guessed it. New housing would have been a better use of this location where people could live and work and revive the cities declining population rather than a stadium that lies vacant for much of the year.
I would agree the optimal situation, like many dense, urban cities such as Chicago, would be to distribute sports stadiums throughout the city, and not concentrate them in downtown (only the Bears play less than a dozen games at Soldier Field for a fraction of the year, and Chicago’s downtown is thriving). Cities thrive with dense concentrations of residents or businesses. Still, I’m glad to see something go in place of the interstate right-of-way.
“beer swilling suburbanites” – yeah, because no City residents go to sporting events and no City residents drink beer and purchase $15 hamburgers. Also there are no City residents that drive SUVs and drive them around. Stop hating and start loving man. This stadium will not “lie vacant for much of the year”. It will be used for all types of events, just like the other sports venues in the City are.
Give me a break.
I am hoping for a full program of other events that will keep the area active when there are no soccer games going on.
There’s no way most folks will be convinced that this facility is being built for anything other than a, primarily, suburban audience. It comes complete with ‘acres of parking’ enabling a quick exit to the burbs and exurbs. No one objects because in St. Louis, Team Sports have religious protection. I guess it’s better than a empty field, but that’s debatable. Enjoy your $15 dollar hamburger.
How would an empty field be better? Surely you can see the economic benefit the stadium brings (job creation, sales tax dollars, parking revenue, merchandise sales, ticket sales, other non-soccer events, community involvement from a very wealthy private ownership). Apartment stock downtown, Midtown, and in the Grove isnít close to full, so your proposed housing with a view isnít a real boon here. Do you not want the sales taxes from the $15 hamburgers and beer flowing to the city? Confused as to how this private investment project is different than any other entertainment protect (see City Foundry). Is it because of people from outside the city limits participate? Too bad; the city population is too low to support this solo. (yes, I live in the City) This kind of attraction actually helps draw livability to the city, not away from it.
Interesting read. I can honestly say in all my knowledge of St.Louis history I’ve never heard about MO-755. In my mind I’m trying to picture the benefit of another interstate through the city and I’m drawing a blank. Is there something I’m missing?
The original purpose of the Inner Distributor (either MO-755 or I-755, both designations were used ) was to provide redundancy to the N-S expressway (I-55/I-70) along the W bank of the Mississippi River. And to provide relief to that N-S route.
The planners and politicians simply waited too long to begin the planning process, by the late sixties new federal regulations were required which added further delay.
The flight from the city likely began to accelerate in the late sixties. St. Louis shares distinctions with other “rust belt” cities such as Cleveland and Detroit, that lost significant numbers of residents. By default, projected vehicle trips making this , and other projected expressways seen as necessary, declined as well.