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New southern entrance planned for St. Louis Zoo

(KWMU photo)

By Maria Altman

St. Louis, MO – Wells Dr. in front of the St. Louis Zoo will close for three months next week for the construction of a pedestrian bridge from the parking lot to the Zoo.

The Zoo designed the new entrance after a drunken driver struck and killed a 7-year-old boy in 2001.

Safety is the main goal, said David McGuire, the Zoo's vice president of architecture and design. But the updates will also spruce up the south lot.

"If you've been to the zoo and parked there you know that it's really just a sea of asphalt," he said. "We wanted to do something that would be more responsive ecologically and also make the entrance experience more entertaining." McGuire said the design includes a life-size sculpture of an African elephant, landscaping, and waterfalls.

The closure will not block access to the south lot, McGuire said. The entrance near Tamm Ave. will remain open.

"We've also added an additional booth on the east side, so if you're coming in from Hampton and making a left on Wells you can get into our lot there as well," McGuire said.

The entire project is expected to take about a year.