"Removing a Barrier" (a New York Times feature story)
St. Louis has the same opportunity with plans to reconnect the City, Arch, and River. Highway removal is key to making it happen.
Lots of other cities are considering their own highway removal options. Will Arch design competition entrants be so inspired?
Removal of the I-70 depressed and elevated lanes separating downtown from the riverfront and Arch grounds might seem like an impossible dream. However, here's what the National Park Service says about it in its recently adopted General Management Plan for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (from Section 5.4 "Comments, and Responses to Comments, On the Draft Plan"):
COMMENT: The portion of I-70 adjacent to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial should be removed in order to eliminate the physical and psychological barrier it creates.
RESPONSE: The National Park Service would prefer and strongly supports the removal of the Interstate highway between the Poplar Street Bridge and Eads Bridge at some point in the future. We recognize an undertaking of this magnitude may not be possible during the timeframe this GMP addresses (15-20 years), but we would amend the GMP should such an opportunity become feasible prior to the expiration of this plan.
At Ecology of Absence, Michael Allen makes a compelling case for analyzing the potential of highway removal in connection with the rerouting of I-70 over the new Mississippi River Bridge.
While the life of the GMP is 15-20 years, improvements built through the results of the design competition will surely be planned to have a useful life of much longer than that. We are likely to live with the decisions made today for the next 50 to 100 years. Unless of course the New Madrid decides to make a major move. In that case, all bets are off.