New Forest Park Parkway pedestrian bridge to be built

Construction starts Monday; bridge to reopen in October

The new Forest Park Parkway bridge will have designated lanes for pedestrians and cyclists.

In an effort to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists, Washington University in St. Louis will replace the Forest Park Parkway bridge with a new bridge that is wider, safer and easier to access.

Demolition work on the current bridge, which is part of the Centennial Greenway, will begin Monday, May 21. The new bridge is scheduled to open in October. During construction, pedestrians will be directed to cross Forest Park Parkway at Skinker or Big Bend boulevards, and cyclists should take University Drive west to Big Bend Boulevard and then travel south to Forsyth Boulevard.

“This bridge is both an important gateway to the Washington University campus and an integral part of the Centennial Greenway,” said James Kolker, associate vice chancellor and university architect. “We have heard from many pedestrians, including those with strollers, that the current narrow configuration of the bridge can be challenging to share with cyclists who may be traveling at high speeds. The new bridge will serve all users, meet accessibility standards and be a beautiful addition to the campus’ northern gateway.”

Pedestrians are directed to cross Forest Park Parkway at Big Bend or Skinker boulevards. Cyclists may reach campus by traveling west on University Drive to Big Bend Boulevard.

 

The new bridge will be twice as wide as the current bridge and will feature separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists. Northbound cyclists will exit the bridge via a switchback ramp designed to slow their descent. To access Throop Drive, cyclists can use bicycle troughs along the stairs north of Bryan Hall. Alternatively, they may continue straight to campus via the recently completed Millstone Plaza. Those with accessibility needs or strollers will find access to campus easier and safer to negotiate.

Some 600,000 trips are made annually across the bridge, making it the most traveled section of the Great Rivers Greenway system. The current span is 8 ½ feet, less than half of the recommended width for a joint bike-pedestrian path.

“Past attempts to slow bikes have been unsuccessful. The new, clearly marked paths provide both pedestrians and cyclists generous and safe space to travel,” Kolker said. “We know there will be inconveniences during construction, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding. When construction is complete, this entrance will be one of the most-traveled, safe and memorable connection points to the Danforth Campus.”

During construction, the sidewalk on the south side of Forest Park Parkway, between Throop and Hoyt drives, will be closed. Throop Drive, however, will remain open.

The university is working with University City, St. Louis County and Metro. To accommodate construction, lanes on Forest Park Parkway and MetroLink will be closed intermittently and for a full weekend in August. Project updates will be available on campusnext.wustl.edu.  More information about closures and detours will be forthcoming.

To sign up for project updates, email campusnext@wustl.edu.

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