Work towards the Meramec Greenway Master plan began more than 30 years ago with a collective goal of preserving open space and building trails so people could explore and enjoy this beautiful river corridor. Great Rivers Greenway is working in partnership with the Meramec River Recreation Association, St. Louis County Department of Parks, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of State Parks, the Missouri Department of Conservation and various municipalities in St. Louis County to advance the plan.
In 2002, Great Rivers Greenway District’s board of directors approved the Meramec River Greenway Concept Plan. This calls for a greenway stretching 50 river miles from the Meramec’s confluence with the Mississippi River to the City of Pacific.
In addition to working with partners to develop and extend the greenway for public enjoyment, Great Rivers Greenway has acquired more than 288 acres of land within the Meramec River corridor.
Beginning with the westernmost section, The Meramec Greenway (paved) crosses under Highway 44 near the City of Eureka and extends 1.5 miles between Lions Park and Route 66 State Park. To the east, the greenway stretches along the river between Glencoe and Sherman Beach Park (gravel). This section also includes the Rock Hollow Trail (paved) that spurs off to Ridge Road. Further east, the greenway (paved) meanders through the trees along the banks of the river; linking Arnold’s Grove Park in Valley Park to Simpson Park and Greentree Park in Kirkwood. On the south and west side of the river, the greenway connects Unger Park to Fenton City Park and George Winter Park. In Lower Meramec Park, the greenway meanders for 1.94 miles along the Meramec River bottomland (paved).
The Missouri Department of Transportation is constructing new I-44 bridges over the Meramec River, west of Highway 270. Great Rivers Greenway has committed funding along with the Cities of Fenton, Kirkwood and Sunset Hills towards the construction of a pedestrian bridge that will be built on the north side of the new westbound bridge. It will connect Stoneywood Drive to the Meramec Greenway near Yarnell Road, making it possible for people to walk, ride a bike, push a stroller or use a wheelchair to connect to parks, businesses and neighborhoods on both sides of the river. The first phase of the project will be the construction of the new westbound bridge between the existing westbound and eastbound bridges. The bridges are expected to be complete in 2021. Stay tuned for updates on the pedestrian bridge!
Route 66 Bridge Feasibility Study
The U.S. Route 66 Bridge over the Meramec River in the City of Eureka in St. Louis County, Missouri is an historic bridge, 1,008 feet long that connects two pieces of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Route 66 State Park. This bridge built in 1931 has a unique Warren Truss support structure (one of four in Missouri), but is in great disrepair. The bridge decking was removed in 2010 to help preserve the support structure by taking the weight off the aging truss. The owner of the bridge, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), had plans to demolish the remaining bridge structure this year if a viable redevelopment plan had not been established by the end of 2016.
Great Rivers Greenway, the regional greenways district formed to strengthen the St. Louis region by connecting people to their rivers, parks and communities through a network of greenways, identifies this area as a connection in their River Ring plan. In partnership with stakeholders, Great Rivers Greenway completed a feasibility study for the bridge to determine the options and costs involved including making the bike/pedestrian connection (four options) and preserving the Warren Truss structure (two of those four). Click the link below to see the full costs and available resources of partners – the funding gap between available funds and those needed range from $3.32 to $7.46 million.
Thanks to a collaborative effort and financial gifts from donors, Landmarks Association and Philip and Judith Stupp, the bridge has been saved! A steering group has been formed to undertake future fundraising efforts to preserve and renew this structure as part of the Meramec Greenway, the internationally popular and historic Route 66, and a vital connection in the State Park itself. MoDOT has pledged their funds originally slated for demotion to the preservation plan! Click here to learn more about the steering committee.
Great Rivers Greenway is dedicated to stewarding the taxpayers’ investment to develop the River Ring as responsibly as possible, with the highest impact for the community. Our mission and focus is, of course, on the bike and pedestrian connection. We look forward to eventually creating this connection for people to enjoy, when the greenways on either end are developed and alternative resources are leveraged. If the above funding gap is closed this year, this project can become a higher priority for the district.