As any St. Louisan knows, Highway 40 (aka I-64 — they are really pushing the interstate designation since this project used a lot of federal money) has been closed since the first of the year between Highways 270 and 170 as part of a two year plan to redo the entire highway from 270 to Kingshighway Blvd. While the freakout that the local “news” organizations frothed up didn’t actually occur, the traffic was a little bit worse and a bunch of people were inconvenienced this year. Next year, they are closing the second half, which will affect us more, and will probably send another round of panic stories in the Post-Disgrace and the like, but in the end, the highway will be much improved.
The reason I am so sure of the great improvement is because today, Jen, Katie, Yao, and I got an up close and personal view of the newly completed portion of I-64. As a fundraiser for The St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation, we were given the opportunity to ride our bikes on the new highway before it opens tomorrow. Miraculously, the weather cooperated (at least as well as can be expected in St. Louis in December) and we had a great time.
We entered the highway at Ballas Road, the westernmost part of the new highway, and rode towards the city on the westbound lanes (the eastbound lanes were reserved for people walking, people with dogs, people with Segways, etc), stopping over Lindbergh Boulevard for the picture you see above. There, we ran into Katie’s parents, who were there with friends on the other side of the highway. After a quick break and a chance to take in the awesome new interchanges (yes, the scary tight cloverleaf at Lindbergh is gone, replaced by a nice single point interchange), we continued on eastward. I took this video going down the hill, thanks to Monika and her awesome birthday gift of a camera tripod with bendable legs that I used to make a handlebar cam.
As we continued eastward, the official biking area ended at McKnight, but we wanted to go further and there was no one to stop us so hey, why not?
We made it all the way to the interchange between I-170 and I-64, and we were able to go out on the new flyover ramps to get a great view of the area:
As we slowly headed back, we took the time to enjoy the sites and see a part of St. Louis that you are normally flying past at high rates of speed. It was truly an awesome experience and we hope to repeat it next year when the second part of the highway opens.