Kingshighway Bridge Replacement

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/metro/news/article_ff25f429-6f92-511e-b76e-98c58ccd3681.html

This was being discussed in the grand ave replacement thread. It probably needs it's own.

Great news on transportation projects in the area.

Sean
Hopefully they'll consider some architectural interest like Grand, I-64, etc.
In this economy, I doubt there'll be any visual aesthetics or ornamentation.

Also hope they graciously allow space for the skateboarders to continue rather than building giant earth-filled berms. I doubt that too.

But we can always make a bunch of noise.
Lame. I realize this neighborhood is different, but imagine if a monster bridge like this were at Delmar and the Metrolink tracks. No hope of Loop development crossing such a bridge and no trolley either.

How much did the new Delmar bridge cost? A lot less than $22M. How close would the balance come to trenching the railroad tracks? Would a grade crossing be tolerable until we can afford better? Can we at least weigh the options? We should demand better.
I think your criticism here is a bit misplaced. It's much, much easier to work on roadways than railroad lines. There's a single line here - so it may seem easier to work on, but maybe a parallel line would be needed, then you're talking about additional right-of-way, etc. etc. The bottom line here appears to be that the City wouldn't be dropping $0.01 on this, so we're going to get what's easiest for the railroad and Feds. Looking at this area, your idea seems to be very valid. An at-grade crossing should never be considered given the amount of traffic on Kingshighway, but it's sexy to imaging the street reconnected to the surrounding neighborhoods!
To trench a rail line is extremely cost prohibitive to say the least.

Did some googling on cost of road/mile v. rail/mile. Figures vary but—to create the gradual grade for the track to dip below street level will require miles of new track work on either side of Kingshighway. The more track work you redo, the more switches, signaling etc. you encounter which skyrockets costs. A trench also requires retaining walls, drainage and safety barriers-fencing, etc along then entire strecth.

UP (Amtrak) would have to reroute traffic (for 2 years?) while the trenching/trackwork is being done. UP's rail network can't handle that and it will cost them additional $$ to lease trackage from BNSF. Furthermore, you'll still have the cost of a road viaduct over the tracks.

I think we're stuck with a bridge.
I'd at least like an examination of the options. If a trench costs way too much or is completely unfeasible because they want to maintain access to the facilities alongside, the grade would be too steep, there's a big sewer running under it, or whatever then fine. But there's already a trench ~1500 feet down the line at Southwest, and it doesn't appear the buildings adjacent are using the railroad at the moment.

I think we should expect answers to some questions before we accept a repeat of what's there now:
1. What do residents and business owners in the area want?
2. What are the cost and feasibility of the options here?
3. How much rail traffic is there?
4. Is a 6 lane bridge necessary?

If no City money goes into replacing the orphaned I-70 lanes downtown as they are surely we aren't going to keep quiet.

I'm all worked up about this because in my neck of the woods (Skinky-D) we don't have a huge bridge like this. All the Metrolink tracks are in a trench/tunnel and it's a nightmare to think what it'd be like to have a bridge like this on Delmar/Skinker/DeBaliviere/FPP/Union.
quincunx wrote:
But there's already a trench ~1500 feet down the line at Southwest, and it doesn't appear the buildings adjacent are using the railroad at the moment.


The not a trench, that's 'The Hill' neighborhood. There's a topographic change. The tracks are pretty level through there. And the tracks service industries along the river further south. It actually connects to Little Rock (route of Amtrak 'Texas Eagle.')
shadrach wrote:
quincunx wrote:
But there's already a trench ~1500 feet down the line at Southwest, and it doesn't appear the buildings adjacent are using the railroad at the moment.

The not a trench, that's 'The Hill' neighborhood. There's a topographic change. The tracks are pretty level through there. And the tracks service industries along the river further south. It actually connects to Little Rock (route of Amtrak 'Texas Eagle.')

The maximum permissible grade allowed for a freight railroad track is 2% (2 vertical feet per 100 horizontal feet). The maximum preferred grade for a road (or even MetroLink) is 5 or 6%. This difference, alone, is why roads are built under/over/around railroad tracks and not vice versa.
The other big reason why govt entities such as local, county and state governments prefer bridges over tracks or under them is that railroad right of ways have preference over local right of ways because of the commerce clause. In essence, UP simply can say NO as a vehicular bridge provides a reasonable alternative. Thus, local entities generally and the railroad have to come to an agreement if altering the railroad ROW is beneficial to both parties or local entities or willing to cover liabilities.

Unfortunately, that is the reality of the situation and UP has no real gain for a trench nor does covering future liabilities is really desireable without a direct benefit to the local community, ie fixed transit along the ROW or commuter line on the existing rail line.

The other alternative, which Gone Corporate notes the big disadvantage on this heavily traveled street, is to go with an at grade crossing. However, Railroad still has right of way and the crossing guards will come down anytime UP sends a train down the line. If the city was footing the bill outright it might be an alternative to provide UP with funding to limit or restrict service to specific hours. Once again, UP might see a 20% share of the bridge cost more beneficial over time versus self imposed restrictions on its own ROW.
Come on, guys; there's no way anyone would seriously consider an at-grade crossing here.
Thanks to the Alderman for getting my question to the right person.

Alderman Roddy,

Reconstruction of the Kingshighway Bridge Over the Union Pacific Railroad track is one of the City's highest capital infrastructure priorities. The City has already received $3.5 million Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Grant for design and right-of-way. BPS plans to submit Phase 2 TIP application this month for $18.5 million dollars covering construction and additional right-of-way.

The City conducted a Feasibility Study to investigate various options. Unfortunately, the option of lowering the track is not feasible due to grade problems with adjacent intersection streets. In other words, the track could not easily be designed to go under Kingshighway and meet other adjacent street crossing elevations due to limitations on maximum track slope to accommodate freight trains.

Project design will commence this year, followed by right-of-way, and construction anticipated to start in 2014. Attached for your information is additional project background and data.

John P. Kohler, P.E.
Planning and Programming Manager
I hope none of the buildings on either side of the bridge are torn down as a result of the rebuilding project. The dense streetscape on both sides is a fast disappearing characteristic in the city (think Grand bridge and all the recent demolitions around it).

I will really miss the old bridge...

Image

Image
Hmm. Didn't page 2 just disappear? I posted some pics last night from the public meeting. Did I cause this? :?:
I'd like to see the city give an empty lot or other like property (there are plenty) to the skateboarders who had set up shop below the viaduct. That would be an act of good will and could provide a nice active space in a more visible location. Heck, they gave a plot of land to the homeless just north of DT right by the Riverfront Trail, why not skaters?
imran wrote:
Hmm. Didn't page 2 just disappear? I posted some pics last night from the public meeting. Did I cause this? :?:


Didn't see the pics, but doubt anything you did could have deleted a page.
imran wrote:
Hmm. Didn't page 2 just disappear? I posted some pics last night from the public meeting. Did I cause this? :?:


Didn't see the pics, but doubt anything you did could have deleted a page. Looking through the forum it appears that it was reset by a few hours, resorting to a backup and so some posts may have been lost. Sorry!
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Okay. Let me try this again:

A new access for Shaw is being created to better align with Shaw on the west. This access will pass through the area to the south of O'Connell's (currently their parking lot)
Image

To compensate O'Connell's for parking the 3 story Mobot owned building immediately to the east of it is to be demolished for parking (see middle of the photograph)
Image

Image

Next, the bridge span. filling out the area underneath where the skate park is.
Image

Proposed design elements
Image

They will continue to accept public comments until May 12.2012

Contact:

Richard H Stockmann
Project manager
suite 301 City Hall
1200 Market Street
STL, MO 63103

phone: 314-589-6606
Fax : 314-622-4028
e mail: [email protected]
at least there will be a net increase of surface parking
Since there is federal money involved, doesn't that therefore trigger a section 106 review?
IMO - splitting Shaw is a mess. The street should run south of O'Connell's only. The only reason to maintain it north is to keep access to MoBOT parking - but then it's only one-way access. Bad idea.
^ And O'Connell's
^ But that's not necessary in any way. Take out "north" Shaw and all the parking remains accessible.
Alex wrote:

IMO - splitting Shaw is a mess. The street should run south of O'Connell's only. The only reason to maintain it north is to keep access to MoBOT parking - but then it's only one-way access. Bad idea.


Or at the very least, leave "North Shaw", and close it off from Kindshighway. Put it some sidewalk and planters and call it good. It seems confusing to have tqwo roads.
Last I heard this was to start after Grand reopened. What's the status of this?