Driver alert---the Grand Blvd. bridge is going to be closing in January.
While this has already been reported, it's probably not on a lot of people's radar right now. St. Louis will be losing a major north-south route for about a year. The bridge handles about 30,000 vehicles a day and in the foreseeable future that's expected to go up to about 33,000.
Drivers are expected to use Vandeventer to the west, Compton and Jefferson Avenue to the east as alternative routes.
If you take a look at the bridge you can see there are a lot of problems. Not just with the corrosion and the deterioration. First of all, the life span on a highway bridge is said to be about 25 years. The Grand bridge is already more than 50 years old. The Metrolink stop is beneath the bridge with a stairwell and elevator coming up to the topside of the bridge. That means buses stop in the middle of the bridge to pick up and drop off passengers.
The new bridge will have bike lanes, wider traffic lanes, a turn-out lane for the bus to pull over to pick up/drop off passengers from the Metrolink. It will also have a median with planter boxes which will be maintained by Saint Louis University.
The Metrolink stop beneath the bridge will be moved from the south side of the tracks to the north side of the tracks. That means the elevator/stairwell will be moved a bit to the north as well. The Metrolink Grand stop is expected to be closed for about a year.
If everything goes according to plan, the $25 million dollar bridge should be open by January 2012.