Traffic patterns could change on Interstate 70 around the connector and Rangeline Street.
The Missouri Department of Transportation has announced it is considering the removal of the Interstate 70 westbound exit ramp at Business Loop 70, alongside the removal of the 64-year-old bridge over eastbound I-70 in Columbia, west of the I-70/U.S. 63 Connector.
“Removal is necessary since the bridge is reaching the end of its service life,” a news release stated. “In addition, the left-side exit ramp is contrary to driver expectations.”
MoDOT officials believe the removal would also help with safety.
“Studies indicate crashes may be reduced by as much as 25% to 70% with the use of right-side ramps over left-side ramps,” the news release said.
MoDOT said the ramp demand can instead be served by the I-70 interchanges at Missouri Route 763 (Rangeline Street) and U.S. 63 at Route WW (Broadway).
MoDOT is encouraging nearby residents and motorists to share their thoughts. So far, it has led to some mixed reactions from residents, including those at the Welcome Home shelter, a community for veterans that sits right next to the I-70 ramp.
Some Welcome Home residents called the interstate dangerous and seemed happy when they heard the news that the ramp could be removed.
One resident, Duncan Cunningham, said the ramp should stay, but with improvements.
“For me, being a former truck driver in my younger years, it’s fine like it is,” Cunningham said. “It needs to be updated and needs more signs.”
“I don’t see what they’re going to accomplish with taking that one out other than making a bigger debt in another area,” he said.
The exit ramp currently carries approximately 2,800 vehicles per day, according to MoDOT.
MoDOT said the project would include the construction of a parallel deceleration lane for the westbound I-70 exit ramp at Rangeline Street to help mitigate congestion. In addition, signage will be adjusted to extend Business Loop to the I-70/U.S. 63 Connector by making use of the new Conley Road extension.
Once funding becomes available, official designs will be drafted, according to the release.
Residents are encouraged to give feedback on this project online. The comment period is open through Sept. 24.