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Project History

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has been studying transportation improvements for the I-70 corridor in Jackson County since 2000. 

 Here is what has been accomplished to date: 

2000:  I-70 Major Investment Study 

In August 2000, MoDOT, the Mid-America Regional Council, and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority started a Major Investment Study (MIS) for the I-70 corridor in Jackson County.  The study area spanned approximately 28 miles from Kansas City Missouri’s Central Business District (CBD) Freeway Loop to the State Routes F/H interchange in Oak Grove, Missouri.  The objective of the I-70 MIS was to identify a multi-modal investment strategy to address transportation needs in a manner consistent with regional policy goals.  The I-70 MIS concluded in November 2004, and it identified a package of recommendations that included the reconstruction and widening of the existing I-70 facility.

 2008:  I-70 First Tier Environmental Impact Statement 

In July 2008, MoDOT in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration initiated the I-70 First Tier Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for approximately 18 miles of I-70 corridor from the end of the last ramp termini east of the Missouri and Kansas state line to east of the I-470 interchange, including the entire Kansas City, Missouri’s Downtown Central Business District (CBD) Freeway Loop.

Its purpose was to determine an improvement strategy for the corridor to address the following needs - improve safety, reduce congestion, restore and maintain existing infrastructure, improve accessibility, and improve goods movement.

Various concepts were combined to develop 15 initial strategies that were screened down to four first tier strategies. 

These four strategies included the No-Build Strategy, Improve Key Bottlenecks Strategy, Add General Lanes Strategy, and Transportation Improvement Corridor Strategy.

After analysis and public review, the First Tier EIS identified a Selected Strategy to improve the I-70 corridor.

The Selected Strategy is the Improve Key Bottlenecks Strategy from the downtown loop to east of I-435.  From east of I-435 to I-470, the Selected Strategy is either the Improve Key Bottlenecks Strategy or the Add General Lanes Strategy. 

The I-70 First Tier EIS concluded with a Record of Decision in April 2011. The First Tier EIS recommended that for the second tier environmental studies, the 18-mile I-70 corridor be divided into five sections of independent utility (SIU). 

The intent of the second tier environmental studies is to build on and extend the work of the First Tier EIS for improving I-70 as part of the Mid-America Regional Council’s long-range transportation plan. 

Each SIU will be evaluated to the appropriate level of detail (CE, EA, or EIS) within the National Environmental Policy Act process. 

2009:  I-70 Statewide Environmental Study 

In August 2009, MoDOT in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration completed a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement across the state incorporating truck-only lanes on I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis.  The study area included 9 miles of I-70 in Jackson County from east of the I-470 interchange to the State Routes F/H interchange in Oak Grove. 

2011:  I-70 Second Tier Environmental Impact Statement 

In December 2011, MoDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are now preparing a Second Tier Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for approximately 6.8 miles of I-70 from west of the Paseo Boulevard interchange to east of the Blue Ridge Cutoff interchange.  This study encompasses two sections of independent utility (SIU) from the I-70 First Tier EIS, which are the Urban SIU (Paseo Boulevard to U.S. 40) and I-435 Interchange SIU (U.S. 40 to Blue Ridge Cutoff).  The Second Tier EIS will carry forward and refine the needs identified from the First Tier EIS and conduct an alternatives analysis based on the Improve Key Bottlenecks Strategy.  Through this study, more specific definitions of the improvements and their potential impacts will be developed for consideration by the general public and the various environmental and community resource agencies.  Examples of these improvements include modifying access, fixing existing pavement and bridges, improving interchange ramps, adding collector distributor roads, and providing for bus transit on shoulder.

The Second Tier EIS will also evaluate a no-build alternative and alternatives coordinated with ongoing regional transit studies.

This study will last about 30 months and conclude in spring 2014.

The completion of the Second Tier EIS process will better position I-70 improvements to qualify for funding when it becomes available.

 

 
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