What can be done to make traffic smoother and safer for the 75,000 to 115,000 drivers who use Interstate 70 every day headed to and from downtown Kansas City?
The Missouri Department of Transportation has suggestions and is asking for public comments. Officials expect to settle on plans by the spring of 2014.
“We’re well on schedule to meet that goal,” Matt Killion, MoDOT area engineer, told Jackson County legislators earlier this week.
Some of the changes under consideration include removing on- and off-ramps to some streets in Kansas City, leaving room for longer – and safer – on-ramps at the remaining intersections. There are several on- and off-ramps near the Benton curve, for example, and some of those might be eliminatied.
“With all of the closely spaced interchanges, we just don’t have the room” for longer on-ramps, Killion said.
Also, the idea of closing the exits to and from Manchester Trafficway – rejected a couple of years ago – is back. MoDOT suggests making other improvements in the area.
Adding lanes is not among the options. MoDOT came to that conclusion, mostly citing cost, a couple of years ago. Now, taking a second look at more incremental improvements on the 6.8 mile stretch of I-70 from Blue Ridge Cutoff west to the Paseo, it has whittled its suggestions down to three sets of ideas:
The most basic is to repave as needed and make low-cost repairs, plus follow through on projects already planned, such as replacing the Manchester Bridge.
The second is to do that work plus other upgrades: more through lanes on I-435 where it crosses I-70, more auxiliary lanes between Manchester and 27th Street and between Prospect and the Paseo, an added acceleration lane at the 18th Street interchange, improvements at the Benton and Jackson curves.
All of those ideas are rolled into the third set of plans, which also include the most substantial suggested changes.
One is to close I-70 access to and from Manchester, though other ideas are to make improvements at U.S. 40 and Manchester and consider an on-ramp from Stadium Drive to eastbound I-70. Also, get rid of left-lane exits off I-435 at I-70.
Heading west, toward the Jackson and Benton curves, MoDOT suggests closing interchanges at 27th Street, 18th Street, Truman Road, Benton Boulevard and Brooklyn Avenue. At the Jackson Curve – that’s the one to the south, not far from Van Brunt – the Jackson Avenue interchange would be upgraded for full access to and from I-70.
MoDOT is having what it calls an online town hall meeting through Feb. 25. Go to www.metroi70.com to read more and post your comments.
If you prefer to meet face to face, there are two meetings next week in Kansas City:
Page 2 of 2 - • 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Linwood Family YMCA, 3800 E. Linwood Blvd.
• 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday at the VA Medical Center, 4801 E. Linwood Blvd.
“We really encourage folks to get out and meet us,” Killion said.
You can write to Missouri Department of Transportation, 600 N.E. Colbern Road, Lee’s Summit, Mo., 64086, send an email to Killion at Matthew.Killion@modot.mo.gov, or send an email to project manager Allan Zafft at Allan.Zafft@modot.mo.gov.