Public meetings are underway across the Interstate 70 corridor on the highway’s coming expansion to six lanes across Missouri.

Eric Kopinski is project manager for the “Improve I-70” program. He told Missourinet affiliate Kaspar Radio that it’s still very much a work in progress.

“Right now, we don’t have every answer, but we are sharing what information we do have,” he said. “We did release a draft schedule, and we are sharing the information we have and getting any public comments or public feedback.

The meetings began last week in Wentzville, Warrenton, Concordia, and Jonesburg. Three more are set this week, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 5, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Jackson County Fire Protection District Education Center located at 4715 W U.S. 40 Highway, Blue Springs, MO.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 6, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Battle High School Auxiliary Gym, located at 7575 St. Charles, Rd., Columbia, MO.
  • Thursday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Hannah Cole Primary School Gym, located at 1700 W. Ashley Rd., Boonville, MO.

“We also also have all this information on our website,” Kopinski said. “So, anyone that’s unable to make this can visit our website and go through the information that that’s being shared at these public meetings.”

The first section of the project will encompass a 20-mile stretch between Columbia and Kingdom City in central Missouri, with work on that section set to begin next year. The second phase of the project will be an approximate 18-mile segment from Wentzville to Warrenton. Both of those segments are designated as design-build projects.

“We’ll go to industry and there’ll be teams formed up, and they’ll work together to solve problems,” Kopinski said. “We’ll have listed what are our top problems — we really need to add that third lane, there’ll be a hard requirement. Can they replace existing pavement? Can they improve existing bridges? Can they make this a safer corridor by adding safety features? And we’ll pick the winning team based off of that.”

Plans call for the entire 200-mile, $2.8 billion project to be complete in seven years.

“That’s very aggressive from start to cutting the final ribbon,” Kopinski said. “As we talk to other states who have done similar projects, this is a 20-to-30-year project. (But) we (have) condensed that down here in Missouri and…(are) working with our contractors to make sure we can deliver on that.”

The I-70 expansion project was passed earlier this year by the Missouri legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson.

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