Preferred plan for I-70 unveiled

An environmental impact study now must be done.
Friday, March 19, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:09 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

The plan to improve 18 miles of Interstate 70 was unveiled by the I-70 advisory group Thursday night.

The plan contains one alternative for each intersection along I-70, from Route J/O to Route Z,and is called the “preferred alternative.”

The impact of the proposed plan, which is also known as “the footprint,” will affect 382 acres, 63 businesses and 278 housing units, including two apartment complexes. It has been narrowing since planning began, but will not shrink any further until the Missouri Department of Transportation enters the design phase. That phase cannot begin until funding is provided.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is “strapped for cash across the state,” said spokeswoman Kathy Harvey.

For now, the next step is for CH2M Hill, a private transportation consultant, to conduct an environmental impact study for the plan. This will describe how the proposed improvements will affect the environment nearby.

A public hearing will then be held, sometime in July.

“If we get new information we’ll change (the plan),” said Kevin Nichols, CH2M Hill designer.

The I-70 advisory group, whose 24 members represent a variety of Columbia interests, provides input to help narrow and create alternatives for the project.

At the meeting, the group explained why they chose each alternative:

  • The Route J/O design was chosen for its simplicity. It will have few impacts, accommodate future traffic and improve safety.
  • The interchange at Interstate 40 has a simple design with few impacts and low cost.
  • The Stadium Boulevard interchange has a lower cost and less traffic than other alternatives, although it has more impact.
  • Frontage roads planned for the 163/763/Business Loop 70 interchange will provide desired access to homes and businesses, despite safety concerns and slower traffic flow.
  • The St. Charles interchange was chosen for its simple design and few impacts.
  • The Route Z was chosen because it improves safety and accommodates future traffic while incorporating a simple design and few impacts.

Alternatives for the Business Loop 70 interchange and the U.S. 63 interchange had been determined earlier.

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