ST. LOUIS – Major bridge improvements are underway in Holly Hills in south St. Louis; not closing roads, but walkways. If you use the trail through the Carondelet Connector, you’ll be greeted by a big ‘trail closed’ sign, something that will be there for quite some time.

The trail is closed from Loughborough Commons to Koeln Avenue. Luckily, the Missouri Department of Transportation has set up detour signs around the park and neighborhood in order to direct those who use that stretch of trail.

Bikers and walkers frequently use the connector because it leads directly to Loughborough Commons. That alternative route will be in place until at least mid-2024.

“I was surprised that it was going to be closed at all, honestly,” said Matt Schmitt, who uses the trail often. “I rode on it today while it was closed.”

Part of the stretch is under a soft closure, but after the commons, the trail is closed due to the dangers that are present with heavy machinery and other equipment as MoDOT crew members work on the Interstate 55 overpass bridges.

“It’s easier to divert cars than to divert bicyclists and pedestrians, it’s a lot harder to go out of your direction of travel, out of your way, on foot,” said engineer Jen Wade, MoDOT area of St. Louis.

There are some reasons you’ll want to avoid the Carondelet Connector.

“It’s going to be a high-traffic, large vehicle area; not safe for pedestrians and bicyclists,” Wade said.

With all the road work that’s going on, Schmitt voiced his annoyance that a method of travel will be closed off.

“Dealing with the closures on all of the highway here, it’s like par for the course,” he said.

“We do have a detour route that comes through the park and routes people on roads and sidewalks that routes people all the way to Southside Commons, near Colon Avenue, they can get back on the trail there and continue on their way,” Wade said.

The interactive map shown below gives you exact directions for avoiding the closure while still making it to your intended destination.

Carondelet Connector detour by KevinSeanHeld on Scribd

While it may be an inconvenience, Wade says this project is necessary.

“I-55 was built about one bridge lifetime ago, and so it’s time for major overhauls,” she said.

It’s why the multi-million dollar project to renovate 13 bridges that support the highway has been underway for the last year and will continue into 2024.

“It’s nice to be able to have another way to get around and utilize your city,” Schmitt said.

In his opinion, the city is car-centered, and this only creates another hurdle in the road, or path.

“It’s for the sake of the cars, right?” says Schmitt

A paving project that will last through 2025 will come after the bridge construction is complete. A link to the MoDOT detour map can be found on its website.