6 facts you need to know about Riverside Drive
The grand reopening of this commuter road Sept. 10 is nearly as anticipated as the opening of Gathering Place two days before.
Riverside Drive now runs beneath two land bridges south of downtown.
Construction began in 1915 on a four-block riverfront boulevard, the precursor to modern Riverside Drive. Through the late 1930s, however, Riverside south of East 31st Street was little more than a scenic, narrow thoroughfare. It wasn’t until the late ’50s that lane widening began in earnest.
In the late 1960s, Riverside almost became an expressway connecting to the Inner Dispersal Loop. Maple Ridge residents strongly opposed the measure, which would have cut through the historic neighborhood. The state abandoned this plan in 1976.
Detour no more
The section of the road from East 24th Street to East 33rd Place has been closed for Gathering Place construction since 2015.
Riverside is 9 miles long, running north to south from East 11th to 101st streets. South of Interstate 44, Riverside Drive becomes Riverside Parkway. South of 101st, Riverside becomes Delaware Avenue.
In 2014, about 27,000 vehicles per day drove through the intersection at 31st and Riverside.
8 feet under
Gathering Place’s two land bridges now span Riverside, creating two pairs of tunnels, each just under 300 feet in length. Both land bridges have irrigation, plantings and 4- to 15-foot-tall trees, all on top of 8-15 feet of dirt.