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(LISTEN): Boone County commissioner requests your patience during massive I-70 construction project

(LISTEN): Boone County commissioner requests your patience during massive I-70 construction project

This is MoDOT’s rendering of the massive improvement plan for Columbia’s I-70 and Highway 63 interchange (May 1, 2024 photo from 939 the Eagle’s Brian Hauswirth)

The state Department of Transportation (MoDOT) says you can expect nighttime lane closures on busy I-70 between Columbia and Kingdom City, once works begins this summer to rebuild and expand that 20-mile stretch to six lanes. MoDOT project director Jeff Gander says the grass median that you see now on I-70 will be filled in:

“There’s enough space where we can build the median or build the new lanes in the median and still have some shoulder there. So yeah our typical section for the vast majority of this, we are adding the lane by putting it in the middle where the median was,” Mr. Gander says.

He says crews will also work at night and will be behind a barrier wall that’s two feet wide and 42 inches tall. Mr. Gander tells 939 the Eagle says the $405-million Columbia to Kingdom City project will start after the fourth of July. He expects it to begin on I-70 east of Columbia near Route M and J.

Boone County’s northern district commissioner is requesting your patience, ahead of construction that begins this summer on the expansion between Columbia and Kingdom City. Commissioner Janet Thompson tells 939 the Eagle that the project is much needed.

“I think we all need to give grace, because this isn’t going to be really easy. You know it’s going to take some time and each time a little change is made, we should just exhale and say keep your eye on the prize. It’s going to be wonderful when it’s done,” Thompson says.

Missouri’s governor signed bipartisan legislation last summer that provides $2.8 billion to reconstruct and expand I-70 to six lanes from Blue Springs to Wentzville. Commissioner Thompson, a Democrat, joined GOP Governor Mike Parson at the Columbia ceremony. The first phase will be the 20 miles from Columbia to Kingdom City. MoDOT plans to install new concrete pavement on all three lanes of I-70 in each direction from Columbia to Kingdom City.

Commissioner Thompson describes I-70 in the Columbia area as the heartbeat of economic development throughout the nation. Commissioner Thompson notes then-Boone County presiding commissioner Dan Atwill (D) requested a traffic count and a detailed report about where traffic is heading, before Missouri received an $81-million federal grant for the $240-million new I-70 Rocheport bridge project.

“And I’ll never forget seeing that picture and then taking that picture to (then Missouri U-S) Senator Blunt and saying here’s why we need the funding for this project, because in the space of 24 hours and 48 hours that bridge is the linchpin to the entire transportation network in the United States,” says Thompson.

The new I-70 Rocheport bridge project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.