Columbia-area residents packed the ARC facility on West Ash on Thursday to view detailed maps and exhibits of a proposed $140-million upgrade at heavily-traveled I-70 and Highway 63. That’s the busiest interchange in mid-Missouri.
State Department of Transportation (MoDOT) project director Brandi Baldwin is pleased with the heavy turnout at the open house-style meeting.
“What we’re doing today is we’re showing you some options, right. So we want your feedback on that over the next couple of months. Then we’ll fine-tune that and then come back to the public and show here’s what we heard from you and here’s what we see as the preferred alternative,” Baldwin says.
MoDOT had 40 to 50 maps and exhibits for you to see, along with staff members to answer questions at each exhibit. Click here to see the 41-page presentation from MoDOT.
One possibility is a diverging diamond, which is the style at the I-70 and Stadium interchange in west Columbia. Ms. Baldwin explains how a diverging diamond works.
“If you’re making a left-hand turn, you’re going to go stay tight on the left-hand side and cross over that way. And that just keeps traffic moving a little quicker. So you’re not crossing over lanes of traffic, we’re actually moving the lanes of traffic to where they’re closer to the most frequent movements,” says Baldwin.
A community advisory group working with MoDOT describes I-70 and Highway 63 as a hot spot of pedestrian deaths.
MoDOT is currently re-evaluating the environmental impact statement for Columbia’s I-70 corridor between Route B and Route Z, an 18-mile stretch. Ms. Baldwin tells 939 the Eagle that construction on the I-70 and 63 project isn’t expected to begin until 2024, with the design-build phase starting in 2023.