About the Study
The Interstate 70 (I-70) Planning and Environmental Linkages Study ( PEL) study provides a corridor-level analysis and decision-making framework for a 40-mile portion of the I-70 corridor between the city of St. Louis and Wentzville, Missouri, in St. Charles County.
The study began in 2016 by the Missouri Department of Transportation, and was approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2018. The PEL approach lays the foundation for collaborative planning and decision making between MoDOT, East-West Gateway Council of Governments and local public agencies to get projects done more effectively. Additionally, the PEL allows for an orderly transition from a corridor-level analysis to more detailed analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A NEPA study is a federally mandated investigation of the environmental affects of possible transportation activities on both the natural and built environments.
Over the years, agencies within the St. Louis region have studied specific aspects of transportation (freight, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or roadway improvements for example). The I-70 PEL examined the corridor for all modes of transportation. This study considered various sustainability elements that affect the corridor. The study considered bicycle, pedestrian and other non-motorized transportation needs, economic development opportunities, social equity, transportation safety, the environment, and future multi-modal needs, including freight.
Because of its length, the I-70 corridor was divided into five segments. These segments were based on land use and travel patterns throughout the corridor. The corridor's five segments and further described in the I-70 PEL final report.
Who was involved?
The Missouri Department of Transportation, Bi-State Development Agencies (primarily responsible for Metro) and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments collaborated to conduct the study. St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and St. Louis Lambert International Airport were also involved in various portions of the study, providing input on corridor improvement needs. Equally important to the study were the public. The study team reached out to the commuters, the residents , business owners, others who use the corridor daily and key influencers in the region who shared their vision and needs. This input was captured through a series of public meetings and workshops.
What are the next steps?
By prioritizing strategies and concepts within each of the five segments as well as along the corridor, this study gives all transportation organizations in the St. Louis region a framework to move forward to possible improvements to the I-70 corridor in the St. Louis area. The next steps will be to design and implement projects based on that framework as funding becomes available. Strong partnerships with, and cooperation between, MoDOT, the municipalities and counties directly along the corridor (primarily the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County) will help implement the strategies in the plan for the years ahead.