The rebuilding and widening of a second interstate in Missouri could be in the works. Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith has unveiled the House’s next state budget proposal, which includes more than $727 million to rebuild portions of Interstate 44, including six lanes at Springfield, Joplin, and Rolla.

“This is a generational investment to rebuild one of the main arteries across our state,” said Smith. “There are few pieces, specifically around Springfield and into Joplin, the I-49 and 44 interchange, where MoDOT feels comfortable enough to go ahead and start with these projects.”

I-44 is Missouri’s longest highway, amounting to nearly 300 miles of roadway.

Smith’s plan would also establish new interchanges in Joplin at the junction of I-49 and I-44.

“It is the busiest roadway in the state of Missouri,” said Smith. “And through Springfield, specifically, it is very congested and at times dangerous to navigate through. Obviously, the Joplin I-49/I-44 interchange is one of the busiest in the country. You get into a lot of congestion there and this will help alleviate that by creating six lanes, three lanes both ways.”

During a stop Tuesday in Joplin, Smith, R-Carthage, commended MoDOT’s work.

“Through their smart financing that they’ve used in the last year since we put together that I-70 package, I believe that they will save enough money on the back end of that project to essentially pay for the I-44 project over the course of the long term,” said Smith.

Smith also proposes $100 million in state funding to rehab rural and low volume roads.

The House Budget Committee will jump right back into the proposed $50 billion budget once lawmakers return from spring break next week.

Work to six lane I-70 statewide is expected to begin later this year.

Ty Albright of Missourinet affiliate KZRG in Joplin contributed to this story.

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