By. Chris Stritzel
Yesterday, President Trump unveiled his ambitious plan to rebuild our infrastructure. The plan is to put forth nearly $1 Trillion over the next 10 years to rebuild many things in this nation. Most importantly, our roads and airports. When you look at the way St. Louis' infrastructure is, many would say that it is among some of the best in the nation. But look closer, major interstates cut the City in many pieces. This on display on Interstate 70, 64 and 44. While 44 gets improvements all the time, 70 and 64 are in their own categories. Past Kingshighway on Interstate 64, the highway becomes dangerous. Sharp curves and crumbling bridge supports have divided midtown and downtown to where no developer wants to look south of the Highway. It is a mess all the way around.
Interstate 64's double-decker highway portion and the Poplar Street bridge are the two worst pieces of the highway as mentioned earlier, they are crumbling and work is always being done to it bringing receipts of millions of dollars between MODOT (Missouri Department of Transportation) and IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation). The improvements never seem to work and always end up causing bottlenecks when it comes down to traffic and congestion causing more issues than it is worth. Something needs to change here. Interstate 70 carries some issues/ Most has to do with reliability. Many people who use 70 North of Downtown make in into a race track of horrors. People go fast, crash and some die here because the speed limit is not obeyed and how curvy it is. Things really need to change here. 70 also splits downtown rom the arch grounds (CityArchRiver tried to fix this) which is a major problem.
Now comes the big infrastructure plan. Although it is only $100 Billion a year for 10 years, Missouri needs to do everything it can to take lots from that promise. MODOT has to consider changing the way our highways work. Interstate 64's Double-Decker Portion simply needs to be rebuilt and made 1 level and more straight, that way, it isn't as bad. In downtown, 64 must be rebuilt as well and not be an eyesore like it is already. 70 needs to made level in Downtown after the CityArchRiver Park over highway portion. 70 South of this must be capped in order to connect Downtown fully to the river. Further North, Interstate 70 becomes a highway again and the express lanes are taken out in order to straighten out the road and reduce deaths by plowing into the curvy walls of the highway.
Besides this, the money form the plan would create a better flow for everyone in downtown and create a boulevard along the eastern edge of downtown. Much like what was envisioned by City To River several years ago. When it comes to Lambert Airport, there are no noticeable problems. Since it is not as busy as it was in the TWA years, no major improvements need to made here. Besides that, Metro is the last thing on this list that can be improved. Money from Trump's plan could easily fund better security on the system and even possible expansions in the future all across the metropolitan area.
Overall, I believe, that if taken literally, President Trump's plan could overhaul our City's ageing infrastructure and inadequate infrastructure and improve it for everyone. Because as our City grows, the infrastructure must be there to support it. We cannot have 20th Century infrastructure operating and controlling at 21st Century City. It just won't work. Outside of the President's plan, I wish the City would invest in making all Sodium-Vapor Streetlights in the City become LEDs instead. It will more power efficient and brighter providing a better sense of safety on the streets at night. That is more doable than the major portion of this story.