Survey shows effect of I-70 plans

Some area businesses might relocate, but others say it would be difficult.
Thursday, February 5, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:48 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

The shadow of the Improve I-70 project has become narrower thanks to the results of a recent survey.

The project’s “footprint,” which is the area of businesses and residences in the Interstate 70 corridor that would be affected by the project, is gaining definition with the results of a survey conducted by transportation consultant CH2M Hill. The survey is part of an ongoing study being conducted by the firm so when federal funding is available, design and construction can begin, said Buddy Desai, project manager for CH2M Hill.

The firm contacted 326 affected businesses, 123 of which completed the survey. About 75 percent of businesses said that if they had to relocate, finding a suitable site for business in Columbia would be difficult. Almost half said they would seek to relocate if the Missouri Department of Transportation bought their land. But 12 percent said they may not reopen if displaced by the project.

New businesses affected by I-70 project

The survey also found that nearly half of the businesses potentially affected by the I-70 project were less than 10 years old.

Beth Chapman, co-owner of Chapman Heating and Air Conditioning Co., who participated in the survey, said she was trying to plan but wasn’t worried.

“When it happens, then we’ll deal with it,” she said.

Boone County Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said he thinks it will be a long time before the department will have any funding, and it may be as long as 10 years before construction begins.

Desai said a reasonable range of alternatives would be developed by looking at the survey, environmental impact, estimated cost and the number of residences affected.

The Improve I-70 Advisory Group will meet today to discuss those alternatives, which include one-way frontage roads, two-way frontage roads and collector-distributor roads.

Developing a hybrid concept based on a combination of the three alternatives will be the next step in the I-70 project, said Bob Brendel of the Transportation Department.

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