A road- and bridge-construction project that will impact Washington University — and particularly the Washington University Medical Center campus — is scheduled to begin in the next few days and be completed in summer 2014.
The project, overseen by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), includes construction on Interstate 64/Highway 40 of a new interchange at Tower Grove Avenue and the demolition and replacement of four bridges over the interstate. Those bridges — at Taylor, Newstead, Tower Grove and Boyle avenues — are heavily used by medical center employees, students and patients.
The project also includes related work at Boyle Avenue, the addition of new pavement on I-64 between Kingshighway and Newstead and the resurfacing of I-64 between Newstead and Sarah Street.
The $17.9 million project is intended to improve the flow of traffic around Kingshighway and the east side of the Medical Campus. Washington University School of Medicine and BJC Healthcare are contributing $9.75 million to the effort.
“It will be important to remember that this project will greatly enhance access to the campus,” says Rick Stanton, the School of Medicine’s vice chancellor of administration and finance. “We ask for everyone’s patience and attention to safety during the construction in the coming months. When the project is complete, we expect it will be well worth any disruptions we experience.”
The Taylor Avenue bridge over Interstate 64/Highway 40 is one of four bridges that will be demolished and replaced as part of a project that will be completed in summer 2014.
In the project’s first phase, the Taylor and Newstead bridges will close Jan. 21, shortly after the morning rush, and will remain closed over the interstate until November. After new bridges are installed over I-64 at Taylor and Newstead, MoDOT will demolish the Tower Grove and Boyle bridges, likely in the fall of 2013.
The Vandeventer Avenue eastbound exit off of I-64 will be closed at different periods during construction, while the westbound I-64 Vandeventer on-ramp will be closed for the majority of the project.
I-64, between Kingshighway and Sarah, also will be closed at times during the project. The first such closure will be the weekend of Jan. 25-27, when both directions of the interstate will be shut down for the removal of the Taylor and Newstead bridges. The roadway will be closed following the evening rush Friday, Jan. 25, and will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28.
When I-64 reopens, drivers will have three lanes from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays in each direction of I-64 between Kingshighway and Vandeventer, though the lanes will have shifted and narrowed so caution is urged. Overnight and on weekends, MoDOT will close up to two of those lanes. Other than weekend closures slated for bridge removal, MoDOT will keep at least one lane of I-64 open in both directions at all times.
MoDOT is expecting congestion during the project and suggests that commuters consider Interstates 44 or 70. Those closer to the construction are encouraged to use Chouteau Avenue and Manchester Road or Forest Park Parkway to avoid backups.
Medical center administrators also are encouraging the use of alternate routes and public transportation and are asking employees and students to plan for additional travel time, especially during rush-hour periods.
The medical center will strive to keep employees, students and others informed of construction updates.
MoDOT plans to post updates to its website, which has further information on the project.
This MoDOT map of Interstate 64/Highway 40 illustrates areas targeted in a road- and bridge-construction project that will be completed in summer 2014.
Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.