The Columbia Chamber of Commerce president is worried about the potential for massive traffic backups on I-70 in mid-Missouri, after the failure of Proposition D’s ten-cent gasoline tax increase in November.
Columbia Chamber President Matt McCormick gasped, when he heard Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) director Patrick McKenna say Thursday that rehabilitation of the I-70 Rocheport bridge will cause three-hour backups “on a good day” and 25-mile backups to Kingdom City “on a bad day.”
“And I think that’s part of the challenge we have is the general public sometimes does not see those numbers and always hear those numbers,” McCormick tells Missourinet. “And it’s hard to put that in context also until you sit in one of those backups.”
Because of Proposition D’s defeat, MoDOT says it only has funding for a $15 million rehabilitation of the more than 3,000 foot long bridge, which was built in 1960. The agency says it would cost about $200 million to replace the bridge.
McCormick and other Columbia business leaders express concern about the impact of three to eight-hour traffic backups on I-70, when the Rocheport bridge is rehabilitated. The project is expected to start in about 2020.
“What that does to the possibility of those backups and what does that do to a community and how far people have to go to get around these things, and how hurtful that can be to your economy,” says McCormick.
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce, along with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business and labor organizations, supported Proposition D.
McCormick describes I-70 as a “focal point” of business as well as moving goods and services across the nation.
Transportation is expected to be a key issue again during the 2019 legislative session, which begins on January 9 in Jefferson City.
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