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EarthCam | 1:17
ONE of America’s greatest modern landmarks, the Gateway Arch in St Louis, built to commemorate the country’s 19th century westward expansion, has recently undergone a substantial upgrade.
On the surface, little appears to have changed, and the 630-feet (192 metre) tall monument, designed in 1948 by architect Eero Saarinen, still strikes an iconic presence on the city’s skyline.
Above and Below: The renovation of the Gateway Arch included a land bridge over the Interstate 44 and expanded underground museum facilities (images courtesy of EarthCam).
In reality, a number of improvements were carried out, among them a wide crossing over the Interstate 44 highway, which used to separate the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi riverfront from downtown St Louis.
Above: The improvements will create a more welcoming entrance to the monument and connect it to downtown St. Louis (image courtesy of National Park Service).
The monument’s underground visitor centre and museum received a 46,000 square foot extension and a new entrance, while a large parking facility at the north end of the Gateway Arch National Park was demolished.
The park itself was upgraded with new plants and hard surfaces.
Above: Although the project was the most expensive public-private partnership in America's National Parks history, it preserves the Arch's monumental presence on the St. Louis skyline (image courtesy of National Park Service).
The upgrade cost USD $380 million, of which USD $221 million came from private funding, making it the largest public-private partnership in the United States’ National Parks history.