A late 1950s planned belt freeway encircling Downtown by way of the Lafayette Square, Peabody Darst Webber, Midtown, St. Louis Place, Carr Square and Old North St. Louis communities, the North South Distributor Freeway was only constructed in two portions. The route was scaled back by Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr. (1981-93), leading to the Grattan Street and 22nd Street Parkway plans of the 1980s.5

The southern segment entailed ramps at the South Split interchange of Interstates 44 & 55 with Lafayette Avenue. A portion of these ramps were reconfigured to join Truman Parkway in January 2005.1 Costing $6.2-million, the parkway is a scaled-down route of the North South Distributor Freeway. Named the Grattan Street Parkway previously, the four-lane roadway superceded Grattan Street north to Chouteau Avenue (Missouri 100) to provide a seamless link from I-55 north to 18th Street and Downtown West. Truman Parkway was constructed by the city of St. Louis to spur redevelopment of the area.

Groundbreaking for the parkway took place on April 18, 20032 with the parkway completed between Lafayette and Chouteau Avenues on January 6, 2004. MoDOT work to realign the ramps to I-55 commenced in summer 2004.3

The second portion of the Distributor Freeway includes ramps from Interstate 64 & U.S. 40 north to Pine Street at 20th Street. This includes short roadways from the Market Street overpass south to I-64. Plans coinciding with the construction of Truman Parkway included the 22nd Street Parkway.2 Officially cancelled in October 2003, the four-lane parkway was a version of the late 1950s North South Distributor Freeway running north from U.S. 40 to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The project included the reconfiguring of the interchange with I-64 & U.S. 40 and required condemnation of land north of Pine Street. Increasing costs associated with acquiring land needed for the parkway ultimately led to its demise.4


North South Distributor - Downtown West
A left exit ramp peels away from Interstate 55 north for both Interstate 44 west and Truman Parkway north. The concrete ramp spans I-44 west ahead of Lafayette Avenue. A stub was present here meant to connect with the North South Distributor Freeway mainline below Lafayette and Park Avenues. Photo taken 05/03/12.
Signed as Exit 207C from I-55 north, the off-ramp forms the northbound lanes of Truman Parkway beyond Lafayette Avenue. Photo taken 05/03/12.
Truman Parkway continues north as a controlled access roadway to 18th Street. Photo taken 05/03/12.
Lafayette Avenue west at South 18th Street, which forms a westbound on-ramp to Intestate 44 for traffic heading south along Truman Parkway. Photo taken 05/03/12.
An alley ties into 18th Street at the on-ramp beginning to I-44 west. Access from the adjacent I-44 east ramp to 18th Street was removed so that the exit defaults onto Lafayette Avenue east ahead of Truman Parkway. Photo taken 05/03/12.
North South Distributor - Downtown West
The westbound off-ramp from Interstate 64 & U.S. 40 curves northward to run along side the southbound roadway of the North South Distributor. A portion of the southbound lanes are separated by a barrier. Photo taken 05/04/12.
2 photos
2 photos
A stub appears for the unconstructed connection to the northbound mainline at the Market Street overpass. Photos taken 05/04/12.
The eastbound ramp from Interstate 64 & U.S. 40 joins intended northbound mainline of the Distributor Freeway ahead of the Chestnut Street turn off to North 20th Street. Photo taken 05/04/12.
Motorists originating from I-64 & U.S. 40 west ascend to meet Market Street at a signalized intersection. Photo taken 05/04/12.

Sources:

  1. "New I-55 ramps to parkway may open by January." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 20, 2004.
  2. "WORK GETS UNDER WAY ON CONNECTOR ROUTE TO DOWNTOWN." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 19, 2003.
  3. "METROPOLITAN AREA DIGEST." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 10, 2004.
  4. "THE LONG-LINGERING 22ND STREET PARKWAY HAS KICKED THE BUCKET." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 30, 2003.
  5. "22ND STREET TO GET 4 LANES, MEDIAN IN 7-BLOCK STRETCH." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 16, 1994.


Photo Credits:

05/03/12, 05/04/12 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 44
Interstate 55
Interstate 64

Page Updated 11-21-2013.