Natural Bridge Road near UMSL is shown as it appears today (top) and how it would appear after a redesign. Chancellor Tom George announced funding for the Natural Bridge redesign at his annual report to the community Friday (May 4).

A section of Natural Bridge Road in north St. Louis County will soon become the region’s next Great Streets Project. Tom George, chancellor of the University of Missouri–St. Louis announced funding for the project at the university’s annual Chancellor’s Report to the Community May 4.

George said funds have been fully committed for the Great Streets – Natural Bridge Project, which will cost approximately $14 million. The money will come from a combination of federal, state and local sources, including the Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis County, the East–West Gateway Council of Governments and Great Rivers Greenway.

“This is a transformative project that will be a boon to the social and economic region of north county,” George said. “UMSL and area residents will benefit from the retail and commercial opportunities that will make the street a destination spot.”

The construction timeline will be determined by MoDOT, but is expected to begin in Fiscal Year 2014.

The community-based plan aims to transform the area around UMSL on Natural Bridge Road between Hanley Road and Lucas and Hunt Road, into a vibrant destination with commercial, residential and entertainment opportunities. The change will also make it more pedestrian and bike-friendly. Comparisons have been made to Wydown Boulevard in Clayton, Mo., with a tree-lined median down the middle of Natural Bridge, which will undergo a “road diet,” taking it to two lanes, one lane in each direction. Sidewalks on both sides of the street will be 10-feet wide to accommodate walkers and joggers.

“This project demonstrates the kind of collaboration that is key to moving St. Louis County forward,” said St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. “The Natural Bridge redesign is a win-win scenario for both the University of Missouri–St. Louis and north St. Louis County and will improve business, entertainment and living opportunities for everyone in the area.”

The level of cooperation between the different funding parties and county leaders has been exceptional, said George, who especially recognized the involvement of  Patrick Green, mayor of the city of Normandy, Mo.; Rebecca Zoll, president of North County Incorporated; and Betty Van Uum, assistant to the provost for public affairs at UMSL.

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez