A project to create a traditional intersection at Forest Park Parkway and Kingshighway has gained the approvals needed to proceed. Work is expected to begin in August.
The current configuration, with Forest Park Parkway running under Kingshighway, presents challenges for drivers accessing the medical center, the Central West End and Forest Park. Eastbound Forest Park Parkway drivers cannot turn onto northbound Kingshighway. Drivers on Kingshighway cannot access westbound Forest Park Parkway from either direction.
“The configuration of Kingshighway and Forest Park Parkway does not lend itself to easy and safe navigation for patients and families seeking to access this part of the campus,” says June Fowler, BJC communications and marketing senior vice president. “This much-improved intersection is an integral component in the renewal of the medical campus and will provide a new front door to the Central West End and medical center from the west.”
Safety near the Euclid intersection is a concern that should see relief when the new intersection is completed. Today, faster eastbound traffic emerging from beneath Kingshighway mixes with slower eastbound vehicles. The volume of pedestrians crossing Forest Park Parkway adds to the already tenuous situation.
A related project a few hundred feet west of Kingshighway will reconstruct the Forest Park Parkway bridge over the MetroLink tracks. That construction will be overseen by the city.
The $10 million project is funded with a $2.5 million federal grant (for the MetroLink bridge portion), $5 million from BJC and $2.5 million from Washington University School of Medicine.
In August 2017, the Barnes-Jewish north expansion will open, substantially increasing the volume of patient care on the north end of the campus. The new intersection will help to reduce confusion, improving access to the medical center as well as the Central West End neighborhood. Additional benefits include:
• Improved pedestrian experience
• Improved safety at the Forest Park Parkway/Euclid Avenue intersection
• Improved access to Forest Park with turn lanes from Kingshighway to Forest Park Parkway
• More visually appealing streetscape
• Slowing of east/west traffic benefiting pedestrian safety
• Reduced crisscrossing of vehicles on Forest Park Parkway near Euclid
Timeline and impact
Work is expected to begin in August, with Forest Park Parkway west of Kingshighway closing to through traffic for up to a year. Local traffic west of the construction will be maintained. Detours will be marked. Contractors will keep Kingshighway open in both directions. The existing Kingshighway bridge over Forest Park Parkway will be left in place and filled underneath.
• Work will be completed during overnight hours, 7p.m.–5a.m.
• North-south lanes on Kingshighway will remain open during the day
• Limited north/south Kingshighway lane closures will occur during overnight hours
• East/west lanes on Forest Park Parkway between Kingshighway Boulevard and Euclid Avenue will be limited to one lane in each direction
The interchange project is expected to be completed July 1, 2017.
Interchanges at Boyle and Tower Grove –a convenient “back door” alternative to Kingshighway
In August 2014, Interstate 64/Highway 40 interchanges opened at Boyle and Tower Grove –providing employees with convenient access to parking as an alternative to the Kingshighway congestion. The new interchanges were built to improve campus circulation for employees, ease traffic on Kingshighway for patients and visitors, and accommodate development in the Cortex district.
Traffic counts last fall indicated the interchanges are significantly underutilized, while Kingshighway continues to be congested, causing delays for patients and employees.
Employees, patients and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the easily accessible interchanges.
If commuting via I-64/40 heading west of the medical center:
Exit at Tower Grove Avenue
Take the ramp from Boyle onto westbound I-64/40
If commuting via I-64/40 heading east of the medical center:
Exit at Boyle
Take Boyle to Papin Street onto eastbound I-64/40