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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Contact: Brian Keeter, 202-366-0660
FHWA 17-04

Downtown St. Louis on Road to Revitalization Thanks to Ramp Project, Nation's Top Highway Official Says

Mary Peters Tours Construction Site to See How Project Will Relieve Congestion and Provide Economic Benefits

A construction project linking Interstate 55 and the Truman Parkway will help revitalize southern downtown St. Louis, opening the area for economic development and easing frustration for commuters, Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters said during a visit to the project today.

"We know that making it easier for workers, shoppers and residents to get downtown stimulates economic development," Peters said. "Our investment is literally putting St. Louis on the road to revitalization."

The ramp construction project will have a significant impact on the downtown St. Louis economy compared to its relatively modest cost of $1.2 million, approximately $900,000 of which is Federal funds, Peters noted.

"The Bush Administration is constantly looking for ways to get the most value for our transportation dollars," said Peters. "By wisely investing a moderate sum, this project is going a long way to prime the economic pump, help commuters get to their jobs and help parents get back home to their families safely and quickly."

The project will relocate north and southbound ramps to connect I-55 travelers with the downtown area via Truman Parkway, a thoroughfare recently completed by the City. The new ramps will make it easier for drivers to get to the Near Southside and Lafayette Square neighborhoods.

Currently, motorists are forced to use a number of time-consuming side streets to travel from I-55 into this part of downtown. With a more efficient, safe and direct flow of traffic, congestion for downtown commuters is expected to decrease.

The downtown section where the project is located is already the recipient of much-needed redevelopment. Housing opportunities are sprouting up, and commercial development, such as a hotel, office space and restaurants, are expected soon.

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