By Kathleen Berger
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - The Grand Bridge will be coming down, meaning motorists and MetroLink passengers need a back-up plan starting a week from Monday.
Traffic will be detoured for demolition and construction to Compton Avenue, Vandeventer and Jefferson Avenue, beginning March 14.
There will be no bridge traffic for 14 months. That means the busy Grand Avenue bus line #70, with 13,000 passengers daily, will be rerouted, adding about 15 minutes to a rider's commute. MetroLink passengers who come to Grand Station underneath the bridge everyday will have to adjust too.
The demolition and construction for a new bridge is expected to take two years. Part of the $22 million project includes transforming the Grand MetroLink Station into an all new the Scott Avenue Transit Plaza. It's expected to be one of the nicest in the region. Until then, Grand Bridge metro passengers are advised to plan an alternate route. Union Station is the suggest link.
Hazel Bland takes the MetroLink to Grand Station, under the Grand Bridge, daily for work. She says the station's location is superb, but says the feel of it is far from Grand.
"I would like to see more parking, more places to sit, the elevators better," said Bland.
She's getting all of that and more. But it will take more than a year for the renovations. In that time, the Grand Bridge will be demolished and replaced.
"It's time the bridge was attractive, efficient, and well loved," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
And more safe; there's the problem of pedestrians doing what's become dangerously routine and expected. Frequently leave the MetroLink from below, or waiting for a bus, they cross Grand, causing motorists to slam on their brakes. The city has plans to put a stop to that
"A nine-foot wide raised and irrigated landscaped median. That'll run the entire length of the project here. So what that will do is prevent people from crossing the street," said Rich Bradley, President of the Board of Public Service for the City of St. Louis.
And there will be no more busses or cars stopping in a lane for pick up or drop off.
"There's going to be 10 foot deep, 150 feet wide bus turnouts," said Bradley.
There will be wider pedestrian and bike lanes, new architecture, lighting, and landscaping; an all new Grand Bridge.
"Looking at it, it is not grand, and we want it to be grand once again," said Mayor Slay.