More than 100 residents met on Monday with engineers and other officials to discuss possibilities for an interchange at Scott Boulevard and Interstate 70.
Columbia resident Ken Hunt lives a few miles west of where the interchange would be, but he’s hoping this is the first phase of several that might eventually lead to a bridge over Perche Creek, which he said would give he and his wife better access to the city’s center.
“The sooner any of this gets going, it’s in our favor,” he said.
Hunt’s childhood house used to be where I-70 now runs, but when that house was destroyed to make way for construction, he moved a mile south. He’s seen the increase in road congestion over the past few decades.
“I’ve seen I-70 traffic get worse and worse,” he said.
Hunt attended the open house at the Activity and Recreation Center on Monday, which allowed engineers from the firms working with the project to present information to the public and to get feedback as to how residents might want the project to be designed.
Open houses for projects like the interchange are vital to the project, said Shawn Leight of Crawford, Bunte, Brammeier Traffic and and Transportation Engineers. Leight, the firm’s transportation planning manager, said they want to try and craft something that people using the roads will like.
Staff from Bartlett and West, The Louis Berger Group, and the other groups involved in the project were also at the open house to answer questions.
"Without the open house, constructing the interchange would be like building a house without talking to the future owner,” Leight said.
Leight said the goals for Monday’s meeting were to discuss alternative ideas for routes and potential impacts on aspects of the city, such as the effect on neighborhoods, businesses, the environment, topography of the region, connectivity to local street systems and travel demands.
Although it’s impossible to make everyone happy, he said, they’ll do what they can.
Until funding is available, the next steps of the project will remain undetermined, Leight said.
By the end of the summer, participating groups will begin evaluating their options for the project.
A public hearing was held June 22 and another is scheduled for spring 2010 when the Location and Environmental Studies phase is completed.