ALERT: Public Meetings for I-70 Corridor starting May 1st - your feedback needed on important bicycle & pedestrian elements by May 23rd

[[[[UPDATE MAY 18th: The public comment period for the Columbia-Kingdom City Section of Improve I-70 is now open - through May 23rd. Go to this page and scroll down about halfway to find "The Online Comment form for the Improve I-70:"]]]]

Public meetings on the I-70 expansion that will happen over the next few years, are happening across the I-70 corridor in the next couple of weeks.  Details from MoDOT below and on the MoDOT web site

MoDOT is working to expland I-70 across Missouri - a project that has important
MoDOT is working to expland I-70 across Missouri - a project that has important implications for bicycle and pedestrian access and safety. Please take a few moments to contact MoDOT and ask them to design for needed bicycle and pedestrian accommodation on this project.

Improve I-70 is a $2.8 billion project that will impact communities all across Missouri.  Because restricted-access multilane freeways are such significant impediments to safe access and contiguous routes for people who travel by bicycle and on foot, and opportunities for the project to help - or hurt - bicycle and pedestrian connectivity are huge.

In the meetings and when you submit comments online (which you can do via this MoDOT web page - about halfway down the page, search for "The Online Comment Form for the Improve I-70:" -May 1st through May 23rd) please consider commenting on these issues, which have been raised by the bicycle & pedestrian community for around 20 years now:

  • Please include appropriate bicycle & pedestrian accommodation on all bridges & overpasses that will be constructed or reconstructed.  Minimally, a bicycleable & walkable width shoulder on all overpasses, but overpasses closer to population centers and traffic generators should have appropriate accommodations at the expected level of service for the life of the facility - which will be 50-70 years most likely.
     
  • Please include continuous frontage roads - on at least one side - along the entire corridor.  The issue here is that the freeway is a formidable barrier to bicycle and pedestrian travel across the entire corridor.  Routine bicycle & pedestrian travel is not appropriate on the freeway itself, so people who walk and bicycle need alternate routes to travel parallel to the freeway and to access crossing points at overpasses.
     
  • Consider the impediment the freeway itself creates for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and in your design and construction, look for ways to ameliorate the negative effects.
     
  • Consider the opportunities and the need for creating bicycle & pedestrian connectivity along the I-70 corridor.  Particular because the freeway itself presents such an impediment to nonmotorized traffic, it can be very important to provide bicycle and pedestrian connectivity parallel to the corridor - either in the corridor itself or nearby.  This connectivity could take the form of multi-use trails, bikeways on or adjacent to roads (ie, freeway frontage roads), sidewalks where appropriate, and so on.

    The freeway corridor is essentially a permanent transportation corridor across the state.  For that reason, short term, medium term, long term, and even very long term needs for bicycle and pedestrian connectivity must be considered. For example, and area that does not currently require a trail or bikeway connection along the corridor could very well need one in 20, 40, 75, or 100 years.  The action we take now to preserve these future options may be quite simple - such as preserving contiguous areas within the freeway right-of-way that could, in the future, serve as trail connections.

    Other areas may require more short-term bicycle/pedestrian accommodation in or along the corridor. For example, Columbia and Fulton are among two of the cycling hotspots in mid Missouri, yet there is not a good bicycle route connecting them. The most practical way to make a bike/ped connecting route from Columbia to Kingdom City, then south to Fulton, Holt's Summit, and the Katy Trail, may well be along the I-70 and U.S. 54 corridors. 

    Other state DOTs around the country have recognized the impediment to non-motorized traffic that multilane highway type project represent, and have begun to make continuous trails, bikeways, or routes along such corridors routine.

    SUBMIT YOUR PUBLIC COMMENT via this MoDOT web page - about halfway down the page, search for "The Online Comment Form for the Improve I-70." Comments due by May 23rd, 2024.

Bike path a long a new multi-lane divided highway
Multi-use trail along the corridor of a multilane divided highway project

 

A new, well-used multi-use trail along a new divided highway project in Utah
A well-used multi-use trail along a new divided highway project in Utah

 

Planned trail along California freeway
Planned trail alongside a multi-lane divided highway in California

Trail along freeway
Another trail along a divided highway

SUBMIT YOUR PUBLIC COMMENT via this MoDOT web page - about halfway down the page, search for "The Online Comment Form for the Improve I-70." Comments due by May 23rd, 2024.

MODOT PRESS RELEASE FOR IMPROVE I-70 PROJECT PUBLIC MEETINGS

Public hearings scheduled for first Improve I-70 construction project in mid-Missouri

Open House Public Hearing May 1 in Columbia and May 2 in Kingdom City

JEFFERSON CITY – The public is invited to public hearings regarding the Improve I-70: Columbia to Kingdom City project from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, in Columbia and on Thursday, May 2, in Kingdom City. This is the first construction project in MoDOT’s Statewide Improve I-70 Program and will add a third lane of travel in each direction to Interstate 70 between U.S. 63 in Columbia and U.S. 54 in Kingdom City. The contract also includes improvements at the I-70 interchanges at U.S. Route 63 and U.S. Route 54. These meetings will highlight the basic design plans, traffic control plans, schedule, and anticipated construction impacts of the project. Construction is expected to start summer 2024 and be completed by late 2027.

The open house-style hearings will provide the opportunity for nearby residents, businesses, and travelers to learn about and provide comments regarding the planned improvements. No formal presentation will be made. The public can attend the meetings any time between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Engineers from the Missouri Department of Transportation and the contractor Millstone Weber and their designer Jacobs Inc. will be on hand to answer questions. The information will be the same at each location.

Written and recorded oral statements and exhibits can be submitted at the hearing. People can also review materials and make comments at starting May 1 on the website at www.modot.org/improvei70/columbiakingdomcity. All comments must be received by May 23, 2024.

The meeting details and locations are:

  • Wednesday, May 1, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Boone Electric Cooperative located at 1413 Rangeline St., Columbia, MO 65201.
  • Thursday, May 2, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at City Hall located at 5584 Dunn Dr., Kingdom City, MO 65262.

The planned improvements from contractor Millstone Weber and their designer Jacobs include new concrete pavement on all three lanes of I-70 in each direction for the 20-mile section between Columbia and Kingdom City, and improved interchange designs at the U.S. 63 and U.S. 54 interchanges at I-70. Additionally, throughout construction two lanes of travel will be available for both directions of I-70 during peak hours.

Missouri’s FY2024 budget from the General Assembly signed into law by Governor Parson provides $2.8 billion in General Revenue for the costs to build a third lane of I-70 across the state. The program will plan, design, construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, and add a third lane in each direction on nearly 200 miles of I-70, from Blue Springs to Wentzville.

People with disabilities who require special services at the public meeting should notify Improve I-70 Communications Coordinator, Lairyn McGregor, by Wednesday, April 24, so arrangements for those services can be made. For more information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org. To receive the latest statewide news and text alerts, signup for e-updates.

 

SUBMIT YOUR PUBLIC COMMENT via this MoDOT web page - about halfway down the page, search for "The Online Comment Form for the Improve I-70." Comments due by May 23rd, 2024.

Join MoBikeFed's Advocacy Network

MoBikeFed is a statewide group of people like you, working together for better bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri. When you join our advocacy network you receive occasional important advocacy alerts and bicycle, pedestrian, and trails news from around Missouri.

Working together we make a real difference! Join our advocacy network: