I-70 (Interstate 70) is Missouri’s most vital transportation corridor, connecting the state’s two key cities and transporting more rural daily traffic than any other road. The 260 miles of I-70 across Missouri have been a driver of economic development and prosperity, being one of the busiest and most important routes for commercial operators and commuters in the region.
How unsafe is Interstate 70?
The Missouri part of I-70 is around 250 miles long and runs from Kansas City to St. Louis, covering the whole state. These two cities account for the majority of accidents and fatalities on the Missouri I-70.
I-70 is known across the country for being one of the most dangerous freeways in the U.S., with 112 fatalities in 2014. It is regularly rated as one of the most dangerous highways for commercial and private vehicles in the states it passes through.
Over a two-year period, I-70 was involved in 9 fatalities, placing it second in the St. Louis region for fatalities per mile. A tragic tractor-trailer accident occurred in December 2019 after a tractor-trailer collided with a vehicle, injuring numerous motorists.
The Importance of Improving I-70
I-70 has urgent requirements that must be addressed. While doing so, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) must make sure that money spent will not go to waste. Improve I-70 was created by MoDOT to achieve this goal. This project will benefit Missourians for years by modernizing an antiquated interchange and addressing the most serious traffic and safety issues on the road.
Many sections of the highway are now overburdened. It has interchanges and bridges way past their prime, which cause traffic congestion and impede economic activity. More enhancements, such as new ramps, can provide a straighter path off the highway for truck drivers, reducing the likelihood of vehicles toppling over.
Clearly, these difficulties have a significant influence on the efficiency and reliability of freight passing through Missouri. The safety and economic prosperity of the state’s residents are partly dependent on an I-70 that grows in sync with the state and country.
The MoDOT is working to enhance I-70 for several reasons:
With predicted increases in travel, the frequency and severity of traffic-related accidents along I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis has risen and will continue to climb.
I-70’s most recent stretch is 37 years old. The oldest stretch dates back 46 years. The interstate’s original design life was 20 years. Over the next 30 years, both pavement and bridges will require extensive repair and reconstruction.
Congestion makes traveling on I-70 a stop-and-go nightmare today. Future I-70 commuters will face worsening conditions throughout the corridor if nothing is done, including substantially decreased speeds, congestion, and high traffic levels.
Move Products More Effectively
Freight traffic is essential to the state and national economies, and I-70 is a key freight corridor. As truck traffic increases, I-70 operations will deteriorate at an increasing rate.
Improved Infrastructural Features
Many aspects of I-70 were designed in 1956 and do not comply with today’s safer, more efficient design standards. Improving the framework of I-70 will improve its safety and efficiency while also increasing MoDOT’s return on investment.
Access to State’s Tourist Spots
Missouri’s tourism business is worth $7.8 billion each year, employing almost 191,000 people and producing hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local taxes. I-70 is the state’s primary entryway to the state’s numerous tourist and leisure areas.
What are the Benefits of Improving I-70?
Motorists will benefit from I-70’s widening and repair project in the following ways:
- Wider shoulders and median to offer travelers safe zones
- Interchanges, bridges, roadway alignment, and cross-sections that meet today’s standards have been upgraded.
- For better incident management, develop a long-term plan for continuous frontage roads on both sides.
- Right of way is generally extended by 150 feet.
- Six lanes in rural areas (about 80% of the corridor)
- Up to ten lanes in urban areas may be necessary (about 20% of the corridor)
- A planned I-70 transportation enhancement in the median of rural areas
- During construction, four lanes are open to motorists.
- Improved access management and upgraded interchanges
- A strategy for environmental improvements along I-70
- Sturdier, smoother, and safer pavement
How much does it cost?
The cost of widening and repairing I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis is estimated to be around $3 billion. There is currently no money set aside for the planning or construction of major I-70 improvements. Long-term upgrades to I-70 may never be affordable for Missouri without an increase in financing, and hard decisions will have to be made about what can be done with the available funds.
Contact a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
After a serious and sometimes fatal motor vehicle accident, the Flick Law Firm has assisted countless families in Missouri and Kansas in obtaining the compensation they want. For three decades, our team of skilled personal injury lawyers has proudly represented the interests of our clients.
Call us at (816) 221-0501 if you or someone you know has been hurt in a truck or car accident and needs legal assistance.