Today's Question: Should the plans to widen I-70 be presented when no money is available?

Friday, March 6, 2009 | 1:38 p.m. CST

The Missouri Department of Transportation displayed a $3.9 billion project to add four truck-only lanes to Interstate 70 at the Columbia Activity and Recreation Center last week.

Two truck-only lanes would run down the center of the highway going each direction, separated by a median. On the right, the lanes would be separated from two lanes of regular traffic by rumble strips or double-yellow lines.

With the trucks out of the way, the project would make the highway safer and also encourage residents to use it for local trips, said Tim Teddy, Columbia's planning director.

As part of the "Corridors of the Future" program, MoDOT has been conducting studies for widening I-70 since 2006, but the kicker is there's no state or federal funding available for the project. 

Right now, MoDot is trying to garner public support for the project and get the public's input. Those interested can comment at until March 16. Once the hearings are over, MoDot will seek approval from the Federal Highway Administration and the state Highways and Transportation Commission. Then the plans will be shelved until enough money is available.

Since the project does not qualify for stimulus, how long will it take to get any sort of funding?

No one knows for sure. There's no plan for a groundbreaking for the project, and even when $3.9 billion turns up, the project could take a decade to complete.

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