The Improve I-70 Advisory Group conducted a drop-in center Tuesday to provide information on the effects of widening the interstate to eight lanes in Columbia.
Maps of widening options for the Columbia corridor wallpapered the room inside the Days Inn Conference Center. Engineers hovered over desks explaining the options, while survey specialists helped owners of businesses along Interstate 70 fill out surveys that were distributed to nearly 400 businesses. The surveys are meant to help engineers and Missouri Department of Transportation officials determine potential economic effects of widening I-70 .
“It will probably wipe out our building, whatever alternative they choose,” said Beth Chapman, co-owner of Chapman Heating and Air Conditioning Co., which is at 4441 I-70 Drive NW. Despite that fact, Chapman said she is maintaining a positive attitude.
“Because of the growth of Columbia, we need to do something to improve our road system, and you can’t go through growth without some pain,” she said.
Chapman said the specialists at the drop-in center also helped her review her completed business survey.
“They’re very helpful,” she said.
Bob Brendel, spokesman for the department, said there was steady attendance at the drop-in center, which opened at 10 a.m. Officials were on hand to answer questions until 6 p.m.
“There are several categories of people here: people who want to see how they will potentially be affected, how these concepts work; business owners who want to fill out their surveys with specialists,” Brendel said.
Rob Miller, an engineer at CH2M Hill, said the drop-in center helped people realize their input is valuable to the decisions being made.
“This event is so they know the decisions are not made in some back room somewhere,” he said.