Local Voices: Changes to dangerous stretch of I-70 will take a team effort

Cars on Highway

There’s been a lot of discussion around the Interstate 70 corridor between the I-64/Highway 40/61 interchange in Wentzville and Warrenton, especially the railroad overpass and s-curve.

Many of you know that I worked very closely with one of Wentzville’s former mayors on this very project for more than four years. Burlington Northern owned the bridge and all surrounding areas and concluded that since there were no safety issues and the bridge was “structurally sound” (even if it appears to be falling down), they would not give permission to MoDOT for changes, since it would involve rebuilding/realigning the bridge structure.

MoDOT also said that the funding was not available to widen or straighten the stretch of highway, even without the railroad property issue. I got so frustrated with the back-and-forth arguments and rejections to fix what was obviously a deteriorating bridge and unsafe area, that in 2009 I just said que sera, sera. (Also about that time, I started arguing a more important threat with Bi-State over the stretch of MetroLink between the DeBaliviere and CWE stations.)

The s-curve and railroad bridge is not a new issue by any means; that being said, I have never completely let the matter drop. Two years ago, I suggested a road improvement to I-70 and was given the green light to look into the project cost, most of which would have been on MoDOT.

I am saying all of this to emphasize that nothing is a one-person effort and that it takes a team. The INFRA application submitted by MoDOT specifically seeks grant monies for improvements to I-70 for a 6-lane expansion between Warrenton and the 70/61/64 interchange, which would cost roughly in the vicinity of $120-150 million.

Still, we must wait on information from BNSF on the railroad overpass situation.

Currently, no other plans are in the works for improvements to that stretch of highway. Nothing more can be done at a local or state level, however concerned citizens are encouraged to write to the BNSF Railway.

http://www.modot.org/plansandprojects/documents/MissouriDOT-INFRA-Grant-2017-10-30-v3.pdf

 

Mark Rosenblum is a Senior Project Manager at Wells Fargo Advisors, and also the program director for Mid America TEEN CERT (Community Emergency Response Team.

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