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Officials break ground on park connecting downtown to St. Louis Arch

By DANIELLE HAYNES, UPI.com   |   Aug. 3, 2013 at 3:18 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Missouri state and federal officials broke ground Friday on a new pedestrian bridge and park to connect downtown St. Louis to the Gateway Arch.

The "Park over the Highway" project will be constructed over Interstate 70 and will initially include a pedestrian bridge. Later there will be paths for walkers and bicyclists and an amphitheater, the St. Louis Business Journal reported.

"You’re going to lose all this background music,” said CityArchRiver Chairman Walter Metcalfe, referring to the noisy highway traffic. “You’re not going to hear all this junk. You’re going to be able to take the dignity of the Old Courthouse and it’s extraordinary history … from Kiener Plaza all the way through and not hear this background music.”

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Missouri Department of Transportation Engineer Ed Hassinger joined Metcalfe in the groundbreaking ceremony.

The project is projected to cost $380 million, most of which -- $200 million -- will be funded privately. The rest of the money will come from a sales tax increase in the city and county, which voters approved in April. Another $69 million is coming from federal, state and local sources.

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