Additional construction on I-44 set to begin in March. Here’s how to avoid it.
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra patrons attending concerts at Powell Hall who come from west and southwest St. Louis County will soon deal with additional construction when the Missouri Department of Transportation begins major projects on Interstate 44 on and near exits to Grand Center.
Beginning the week of March 18, MoDOT started work to rehabilitate westbound bridges on I-44, which will cause driving lanes to shift and months-long ramp closures. The closures could cause traffic congestion and increased drive times to and from Powell Hall. The SLSO encourages patrons to allow extra time to get to Powell Hall prior to a concert if using I-44.
MoDOT is replacing the I-44 westbound bridges at Kingshighway, Thurman Ave., and 39th St. and shifting westbound lanes to occupy part of the eastbound section of highway, narrowing driving lanes. The work is anticipated to last through the end of 2019. Ramps to westbound I-44 from Grand Blvd. and Vandeventer will be closed for the duration of the project.
To help avoid peak traffic times directly before and after concerts, here are some tips for pre- and post-concert activities in Grand Center, as well as alternate direction options.
Arrive early for a pre-concert talk – Before each SLSO classical concert, enjoy a pre-concert conversation in the auditorium. Led by a member of the SLSO team, the presentation shares with listeners the story behind the music, offering interesting information about composers, their inspirations, and how SLSO musicians approach the performance. Casual and conversational, it’s an accessible primer to learn more about the music.
Ride the SLSO Shuttle – Convenient shuttle service from West County is available for Friday morning Coffee Concerts at 10:30am. Avoid traffic and parking while enjoying a Q&A with a retired SLSO musician on the ride to Powell Hall. Shuttle tickets are $15 per passenger per concert. The motor coach departs the St. Louis County Library Headquarters (1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.) promptly at 9:15am and returns by 1:30pm. All passengers must have both a Shuttle and Coffee concert ticket.
Check out other Grand Center highlights – Keep your evening going post-concert with a visit to any one of several distinctive Grand Center food and beverage options. In walking distance, check out the colorful Rainbow Terrace Bar at the Angad Arts Hotel, with stunning small plates by Chef David Burke. Across Grand Blvd. from Powell Hall, check out the late-night charm of the Dark Room at the Grandel, which offers signature wines and live music every night of the week. Not far away in Midtown, extend the evening at Urban Chestnut’s Midtown Brewery, Sophie’s Lounge, or Small Batch Whiskey and Fare.
Avoid Interstate 44 construction coming to Powell Hall:
While eastbound lanes on I-44 will remain open during the project, lanes will be narrowed to accommodate westbound lanes shifted onto eastbound bridges. The usual eastbound I-44 route to Grand Ave. (or Jefferson Ave.) remains an option. But there are still several ways to reach Powell Hall without going through the construction zone.
Exit at Kingshighway – Eastbound drivers can avoid much of the construction zone by exiting at Kingshighway and taking the road north to Forest Park Parkway, Laclede Ave., or Lindell Blvd. east to Grand Blvd. Another option is taking McRee Ave. from Kingshighway east to Vandeventer north to Grand Center.
Take I-64/40 – Avoid I-44 entirely by taking the Hampton exit on I-44 north to I-64. That route has an exit to Grand Blvd. with signage to Powell Hall.
Avoid Interstate 44 construction heading home from Powell Hall:
The drive to southwest St. Louis County from Grand Center during construction will be more difficult with the nine-month closure of the entrance ramps to I-44 from Vandeventer (March to December) and the three-month closure of the entrance ramp to I-44 from Grand Blvd. (late March to early July). Here are some tips to avoid this area when heading home.
Head over to Kingshighway – If coming to Powell Hall from Kingshighway, retrace your steps back there from Lindell Blvd., Laclede Ave., or Forest Park Parkway. The ramp to westbound I-44 from Kingshighway will remain open and should place motorists beyond the construction zone. Or, take Vandeventer south all the way to Kingshighway before doubling back north on Kingshighway and hopping on I-44 there.
Head east before heading west – Avoid the closed ramps by heading east on Delmar or Chouteau to the Jefferson Ave. ramp. At Jefferson, I-44 is not in a construction zone and should be easier to navigate.
Take I-55 instead – For some motorists, avoiding I-44 heading home might be best altogether. Interstate 55 is another option for those living in South County.
For more information about the I-44 construction project, visit MoDOT’s website.