After Yearslong Effort, a Walkway Finally Connects the Arch and Downtown

By on March 30, 2018

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  With a stroll over a bridge that an older generation worked for years to finance, the next generation of St. Louisans marked a new chapter in the history of their city’s symbol, the Gateway Arch.

A years-long effort by regional leaders to better connect the Arch to the rest of downtown officially ended Monday as crews removed construction fencing from the new pedestrian “lid” over Interstate 44.

Long a barrier cutting off the national park and Mississippi riverfront from downtown St. Louis, the muffled sound of highway traffic is hardly noticeable atop the new connection between Luther Ely Smith Square and the 630-foot-tall monument to westward expansion.

Monday’s rain, wind and chilly temperatures weren’t enough to stop the first visitors from crossing the lid to the revamped Arch grounds.

Clad in a green poncho, 5-year-old Jacub Yadier Williams still had a smile on his face Monday afternoon after the soggy trek across the “Park over the Highway.” Nor did an hour-long rain delay called by officials to avoid the worst of the precipitation dampen his spirits.

It was his first trip to his city’s big, silver icon.

“It was fun,” Jacub told a reporter as he waited with his classmates from University City Children’s Center outside the Arch visitor center.

“They did wonderful,” said Teri Alexander, his teacher.

There were a few tears amid the cold, wet wind. But the children invited to be the first across the bridge appeared mostly in good spirits.

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