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(LISTEN): Mid-Missouri motorists will see I-70 expansion work in Columbia area starting in July

(LISTEN): Mid-Missouri motorists will see I-70 expansion work in Columbia area starting in July

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)

Look for work to begin after the fourth of July on the massive $405-million project to rebuild and expand I-70 between Columbia and Kingdom City.

The state Department of Transportation (MoDOT) held an open house Wednesday afternoon at Boone Electric Cooperative headquarters. MoDOT project director Jeff Gander tells 939 the Eagle the work will begin east of Columbia.

“We’re still a little bit up in the air other than we’re starting in what we call the orange zone, which is out there around Route M and J. That section is ready to go, so you’ll see us out there working in that area right after the fourth of July,” Mr. Gander says.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) signed bipartisan legislation last summer that provides $2.8-billion to reconstruct and expand I-70 to six lanes from Blue Springs to Wentzville. The first phase will be the 20 miles from Columbia to Kingdom City. MoDOT plans to install new concrete pavement on all three lanes in each direction from Columbia to Kingdom City. Boone County northern district commissioner Janet Thompson describes the planned improvements between Columbia and Kingdom City as a long time coming. Commissioner Thompson attended Wednesday’s open house that was hosted by MoDOT at Columbia’s Boone Electric:

“When people first designed that 63/70 interchange (in Columbia), I don’t think they were looking to the future,” Thompson says.

MoDOT’s Gander says Steak ‘n Shake and Bob Evans at Columbia’s I-70 and 63 interchange will stay.  He also tells 939 the Eagle that they will completely rebuild the busy I-70 and Highway 54 interchange in Kingdom City.

“You think back or look back to what our preferred alternative was there when we studied it the first time. It was going to be a diverging diamond, which is similar to what we have at (Columbia’s) Stadium and 70 right now. After further analysis of that, we came up with, or our contractor and their design firm came up with a different design for that,” Gander says.

Mr. Gander says MoDOT plans a roundabout interchange at I-70 and Highway 54. He says they’ll get rid of two traffic signals, which MoDOT says will improve traffic flow.

Click here to learn more details about the $405-million I-70 expansion plan between Columbia and Kingdom City.