One half down, one more to go: The $535 million project to rebuild I-64/Highway 40 from west of Spoede Road to east of Kingshighway Boulevard is about halfway complete.
On Dec. 15, a few weeks ahead of schedule, the Missouri Department of Transportation will open the western half of the project and close the eastern half from Hanley Road to Kingshighway until Dec. 31, 2009.
Washington University and BJC HealthCare are working with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to ensure that the reconstruction project has the smallest possible impact on faculty, staff, visitors, students and patients. Employees, students and visitors at all of the University’s campuses need to plan alternate routes or other modes of transportation.
“The closing of the eastern part of Highway 40 will affect the commutes of many in the Washington University community,” said Nicholas L. Stoff, director of Parking and Transportation Services on the Danforth Campus. “Planning ahead and considering alternate routes as well as alternative means of getting to campus, such as MetroLink, MetroBus, car pooling, bicycling or walking, before the closing occurs will save faculty, staff and students many headaches and much frustration.”
The second phase will affect School of Medicine employees, too. Kelley Mullen, senior director of clinical operations at the School of Medicine, expects traffic on Kingshighway, McCausland Avenue and Forest Park Parkway to increase. She encourages School of Medicine employees to consider alternate routes such as Tower Grove, Boyle and Vandeventer avenues when traveling to and from work.
“For employees coming from east of the Medical Campus, westbound I-64/US-40 will be restriped as motorists near the closure at Kingshighway,” Mullen said. “As it does now, one lane will drop at the Grand/Forest Park Avenue exit. Another lane will drop at Boyle, leaving only two lanes through to Kingshighway.
“MoDOT also plans to leave the Vandeventer ramp onto westbound I-64/US-40 open, leaving intact another alternate route to get to Kingshighway,” Mullen said.
During the yearlong closure of the eastern half, Gateway Constructors will rebuild the pavement, bridges and interchanges between Hanley Road and Kingshighway, including Hanley Road, Big Bend Boulevard, Oakland Avenue, Hampton Avenue and Clayton Avenue.
By Dec. 31, 2009, all lanes on I-64 and Interstate 170 are expected to be open, with final work complete by July 31, 2010. Landscaping should be complete by the end of October 2010.
Benefits-eligible employees and full-time students can apply for the Metro Universal Pass, which provides free access to the MetroLink and MetroBus services. Those interested in obtaining a pass can apply online at the Parking and Transportation Services Web site at parking.wustl.edu. The site also has links to important information about the Highway 40/I-64 project, including commuting alternatives.
A Metro system map, schedules, addresses of MetroLink stations and a list of those with commuter park-ride lots are listed at metrostlouis.org/metrolink/stationlist.asp. Stations that serve WUSTL campuses include the Forsyth Station at West Campus, the Big Bend and Skinker stations for the Danforth Campus and the Central West End station for the Medical Campus.
In addition, employees and students can use the RideFinders regional rideshare program, car pool with co-workers or bicycle or walk to WUSTL campuses.
Those who use alternate modes of transportation can take advantage of the WeCar car-sharing program available on the Danforth and Medical Campuses. Users must register to participate in the program. To reserve a car, visit wecar.com/wustl. The cars are available at an hourly rate to current WUSTL students, faculty, staff or qualified service providers age 18 and older with a valid driver’s license and credit card. The hourly rate to use a WeCar is $10.
Those who choose to drive to the campuses can check the project Web site, thenewi64.org, which is updated regularly and allows motorists to sign up for e-mailed updates on the construction schedule. The site also has the Map My Trip tool, an interactive map that allows motorists to enter their starting point and destination to get alternate routes. Visit dist6.modot.mo.gov/mapmytrip.
The Gateway Guide cameras, sensors and message boards will operate inside the Interstate 270 loop at all times, providing travel times on all of the area’s interstates. These are available online at gatewayguide.com.
MoDOT also has a 511 telephone number for motorists to get traffic updates and travel times.
School of Medicine employees may consider alternate options and routes:
• Use MetroLink’s Central West End station;
• Use alternate routes such as I-70, I-44, I-55, Forest Park Parkway, Manchester Road, Olive Street Road, Delmar Avenue, Page Avenue or Lindell Boulevard;
• Use Taylor, Newstead, Boyle and Tower Grove overpasses to the east of the Medical Center.
Danforth Campus employees may consider alternate options and routes:
• Use alternate routes such as I-44, Forest Park Parkway, McCausland, Olive, Page or Clayton Road;
• Use MetroLink’s Big Bend and Skinker stations.
University prepares for highway shutdown
The University already has several alternatives in place to lessen the impact of the construction.
The Parking and Transportation Office’s Web site (transportation.wustl.edu) provides information about other transportation alternatives available to employees and students as well as a link to Metro’s TripFinder feature (tripfinder.metrostlouis.org), which allows users to enter their start and end points and find a public transportation route that conforms to their schedules.
Full-time students and benefits-eligible faculty, staff, postdoctoral students and fellows have free access to the MetroBus and MetroLink through the Metro Universal Pass. To obtain a pass, visit parking.wustl.edu/upass.htm.
MetroBus provides service for three routes designed specifically for the WUSTL community.
• No. 1 Gold provides service connecting the Medical School with the Danforth Campus. This route also serves downtown Clayton and various shopping plazas.
• No. 2 Red has stops near the South 40 residential halls and provides service to neighborhoods south of campus and nearby grocery and retail stores. This route also connects WUSTL’s North Campus facility with the Mallinckrodt Center on the Danforth Campus.
• The Green Line connects the Danforth Campus with the 560 Building, University City and surrounding neighborhoods that have University-owned apartment buildings.
Routes and schedules are available at parking.wustl.edu/around.htm.
The University also provides a “Danforth Campus/South 40 Circulator” that provides shuttle services from the MetroLink stations at Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway and Big Bend Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway to various locations around the Danforth Campus and the South 40.
RideFinders and car pooling
RideFinders is a regional rideshare program that helps commuters find other commuters for car pools or van pools. RideFinders assists commuters working in St. Louis City; St. Louis, Franklin, Jefferson and St. Charles counties in Missouri; and Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties in Illinois. Visit ridefinders.org for information. Employees also can set up their own car pools with neighbors or friends who work at the University.
WeCar car-sharing program
With car sharing, you can have a vehicle when you need one if you take alternate transportation to campus. Registration is free and required to participate in the program. To reserve a car, visit wecar.com/wustl. The program is available to current WUSTL students, faculty, staff or qualified service providers age 18 and older with a valid driver’s license and credit card. The hourly rate to use the car is $10.
Guaranteed Ride Home
WUSTL participates in the Guaranteed Ride Home Program through Citizens for Modern Transit. The program enables employees who carpool, take Metro or ride their bicycle to work to take a discounted taxi ride home if they or an immediate family member becomes sick or if they have unexpected, unscheduled overtime. Citizens for Modern Transit covers 80 percent of the trip’s cost up to $60 per emergency ride home. Visit cmt-stl.org for more information.
Bicycling to work
Bicycle racks are located around the campuses near many buildings for the convenience of employees who choose to ride their bikes. There also are shower facilities at the Danforth University Center and the Athletic Complex on the Danforth Campus.