Cortex Station & Central West End Platform Extension
By: John Wachter
L. Keeley Construction came together as the General Contractor with various stakeholders to construct an additional MetroLink Station in the Cortex Innovation District and a retrofit expansion of the overloaded, existing Central West End platform. The Cortex MetroLink Station is the 38th MetroLink Station, the first new Metro Station construction in 15 years, and the first station project of its kind to be funded through a public-private partnership. This project also included the first quarter-mile section of the Chouteau Greenway, a paved accessible greenway that will eventually connect Forest Park to the Gateway Arch. The entire project was one of only 72 awarded grant money from nearly 800 applicants through the Federal Tiger Grant with the goal to create a more robust public transportation system for the continually expanding St. Louis area.
L. Keeley’s scope of the project included demolition, all major earthwork, structural concrete, flatwork, site utilities, landscaping, station accessories, as well as, construction management of the new track alignment for the Cortex Station. The L. Keeley Team also provided select demolition, structural concrete, and flatwork for the Central West End station platform retrofit expansion.
L. Keeley provided leadership, industry expertise, self-perform construction, and an unmatched commitment to safety and quality to successfully complete the MetroLink Station in the Cortex District and the retrofit expansion of Central West End platform.
Weather significantly impacted the completion of work, as this project took place throughout every season. During one of the most extreme winters to occur in years, snow and ice prevented certain work from being completed as it was scheduled. During the summer months, the rain and heat impacted multiple aspects of sitework and building. L. Keeley properly planned for such delays and were able to adapt to these unforeseeable factors. The L. Keeley Team exercised their dedication to discipline, often working through the night to avoid the conflicts of pedestrian & vehicle traffic, shutting off utilities, and to take advantage of the short window of time where no trains were operating. This also ensured the project would be completed on time, in accordance with the schedule.
This project, through its public-private partnership, serves as a model for how a region can approach infrastructure needs in the future. It is a testament to the area about investing in a community that will attract workers, create new jobs, and serve as a catalyst for new business and economic development. This project created a more robust public transportation system for one of the most rapidly expanding areas in St. Louis. The Cortex Innovation Community plans to eventually create over 15,000 permanent jobs. This project will help provide an additional transportation option for those who wish to fill those jobs and will create opportunities for those who rely on public transportation as a means of commuting. It also created additional transportation needs for the hospital district in Central West End. This gorgeous new development will help the Cortex continue to become a hub for transportation, business, and leisure in the St. Louis area.