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(LISTEN): I-70 expansion project praised by mid-Missouri lawmaker, who says the interstate is dangerous

(LISTEN): I-70 expansion project praised by mid-Missouri lawmaker, who says the interstate is dangerous

Missouri’s governor was joined by state Department of Transportation (MoDOT) employees at Thursday’s I-70 groundbreaking ceremony in Columbia (June 14, 2024 photo courtesy of Governor Parson’s Flickr page)

A mid-Missouri lawmaker who represents a large section of I-70 is excited about the upcoming $2.8 billion expansion of I-70 between Blue Springs and Wentzville.

State Rep. Kent Haden (R-Mexico) attended Columbia’s recent bipartisan I-70 groundbreaking ceremony with Governor Mike Parson. Representative Haden tells 939 the Eagle that I-70’s current condition in Missouri is dangerous:

“I’ve traveled I-70 since it was built. You know, a lot going to Columbia when I worked in Columbia for 28 years. And it’s a lifeblood for my district but it is really not safe. The traffic is fast. While we were here (at the groundbreaking ceremony), two ambulances came through and I’m sure there’s probably a wreck down I-70. And when that happens, then stuff backs up,” Haden says.

Representative Haden says two of his constituents were killed in a horrific crash near Columbia a few years ago:

“They were parked out here on (Interstate 70 and Route) Z and slowed down (for) construction. Slowed (down to) a stop and a semi ran over (the vehicle) from the rear. So, sisters, they were going to see their mother in a nursing home,” says Haden.

Missouri’s governor says the state’s I-70 expansion and improvement plan will be a model for the nation. The state Department of Transportation (MoDOT) plans to begin work after the Fourth of July on the first stretch: a $405-million project to rebuild and expand I-70 between Columbia and Kingdom City.

Representative Haden serves on the House Agriculture Policy Committee in Jefferson City. He says farmers and ranchers in his district will benefit from the I-70 project:

“I-70, most of the grain, a lot of the grain, goes to the (Mississippi) river terminal. You know so those trucks are going down I-70 all the time,” says Haden.

Representative Haden is referring to Cargill’s terminal on the Mississippi river, east of his district.