Project Management

Monumental Success: A team renovated a U.S. landmark to make it more connected to its city

Catherine Elton, and PM Network

For more than a half century, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, USA has been an iconic guidepost. As the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, it towers above the Mississippi River, connecting east and west in the heart of the country. Yet there’s always been a disconnect between the iconic 630-foot (192-meter) landmark and the city it heralds.

Reaching the arch from other downtown attractions required a treacherous crossing of an interstate highway. The arch museum was awkwardly detached from the structure itself. And a massive parking facility on the arch grounds blocked tourist views. So government sponsors launched a five-year, US$380 million project—the largest public-private partnership (PPP) in U.S. National Park Service history—to improve access and expand attractions in a way that makes the arch feel like part of the city’s center.

Yet the project team had to devise and execute strategies to manage an unusually broad and diverse stakeholder group—and mitigate the risks posed by involving so many players. The PPP included several partners from federal, regional, state and city governments, as well as private nonprofit organizations. And work was divided among 11 contractors. What’s more, the team first had to convince a majority of taxpayers in St. Louis city and county to approve a ballot proposition to finance about a quarter of the project…

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