P3 Delivers Gateway Arch Park

By on July 11, 2018

From ENR:  The largest public-private partnership investment in a national park is delivering a new experience for visitors to the landmark Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which was designed by the late-architect Eero Saarinen. The 10-year path to the opening this month was full of hurdles, including floods. And the project’s 46,000-sq-ft underground visitor center expansion needed to be built without shutting down the arch, which gets nearly 3 million visitors each year.

After a $380-million park redesign that includes the visitor center expansion and a land bridge across the highway, the recently renamed Gateway Arch Park finally has a walking path to the Old St. Louis Courthouse and the rest of downtown.

“Making that connection to the city was really fundamental to the project,” says Eric Moraczewksi, executive director of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, the nonprofit that began the process for the development more than a decade ago.

Saarinen died before construction of the arch was completed in 1965, and the pedestrian bridges he designed to connect it to downtown St. Louis “got value engineered out,” Moraczewksi says. “A lot of what we’re doing is not recreating the wheel, but just realizing Saarinen’s original vision, which was this connection, creating an iconic entrance to such an incredible monument.”

In 2015, general contractor KCI Construction Co. finished a $26-million contract with the Missouri Dept. of Transportation to build the Park Over the Highway—a 300-ft-wide, 1,200-sq-ft-long pedestrian bridge that connects the arch to downtown. As a national park that is also on the National Register of Historic Places, there were stringent demands on how the landscape could be built, what materials could be used and how much existing structures could be changed.

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