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Interstate 70 (Missouri)

 

Interstate 70 (Missouri)

This article is about the section of Interstate 70 in Missouri. For the entire length of the highway, see Interstate 70.

Interstate 70
;">Route information
Maintained by Missouri DOT
Length:
Existed: 1956 – present
;">Major junctions
West end: Template:Jct/extra I-70 / US-24 / US-40 / US-169 at Kansas state line
  Template:Jct/extra I-29 / I-35 / US 71 in Kansas City
Template:Jct/extra I-670 in Kansas City
Template:Jct/extra I-435 in Kansas City
Template:Jct/extra I-470 in Independence
Template:Jct/extra I-64 / US 40 / US 61 in Wentzville
Template:Jct/extra I-270 in Maryland Heights
Template:Jct/extra I-170 in Berkeley
Template:Jct/extra I-55 / I-64 / US 40 in St. Louis
East end: Template:Jct/extra I-55 / I-64 / I-70 / US 40 at Illinois state line
Length:
Length:
Length:
Length:
;">
;">Highway system

Missouri Highways
Supplemental

In the U.S. state of Missouri, Interstate 70 is generally parallel to the Missouri River.[1] This section of the transcontinental Interstate has its western terminus at the Kansas state line on the Lewis and Clark Viaduct, concurrent with U.S. Routes 24, 40, and 169,[2] where the east end is concurrent with Interstates 64 and 55, as well as US 40.[3]

Route description

Kansas City

Interstate 435.

Beginning on the Lewis and Clark Viaduct, I-70 immediately encounters the Alphabet Loop, a small but complex loop of freeways with all of its exits having a number of 2 and a letter suffix that uses the entire alphabet (except I, O, and Z).[4][1] Interstate 35 becomes concurrent with I-70 as soon as the highway gets into the Loop, and maintain the concurrency until the northeastern corner of the Loop.[5] Back at the northwest corner, US 169 splits off to the north, leaving four routes concurrent with each other. There is a large interchange with Route 9 as the Loop reaches the northeastern corner.[6] When it does reach the corner, US 24 splits to the east, I-29 ends, and US 71 joins.[7]

After that, the freeway turns south, with interchanges to more roads. At the southeastern end, I-70, US 40, and 71 exit the Loop, where I-70 and US 40 splits east and US 71 continues south. I-670 ends, where I-70 and US 40 usurp the alignment.[8] Soon after usurpation, I-70 and US 40 turn southeast, and at exit 7A, US 40 departs from I-70.[9] Soon after that, I-70 interchanges with Interstate 435, the beltway around Kansas City.[10]

Independence to Wentzville

East of Interstate 435, I-70 continues east through Independence, Missouri, passing a busy cloverleaf interchange at Interstate 470.[11] The highway then continues with six lanes to the rapidly growing suburb of Blue Springs, where the roadway narrows to four lanes (two each direction) at Route 7.[12] I-70 remains at this width until its intersection with Interstate 64 in Wentzville, over 170 miles (270 km) away.

East of Blue Springs, I-70 takes on a rural character as it leaves Jackson County. The highway remains this way for the next 100 miles (160 km), going through gently rolling terrain and finally crossing the Missouri River just west of where it reaches the mid size college town of Columbia in the center of the state.[13] Through Columbia, the highway is lined with restaurants and hotels and can get quite congested during sporting events at the nearby University of Missouri. The highway leaves Columbia after an exit with St. Charles Road on the east end of town.[14] East of Columbia, I-70 continues through more gently rolling terrain until it reaches Wentzville. It then expands to three lanes each direction to St. Louis.

St. Louis

East of Wentzville, Missouri I-70 passes through the bedroom community of Lake St. Louis, then growing cities of O'Fallon, St. Peters and then historic city of St. Charles.

It crosses over the Missouri River one last time on the Blanchette Bridge; actually two bridges, the westbound span built in the late 1950s and the eastbound span completed in the late 1970s.

Traffic volume increases as I-70 enters [2]

I-270 draws much of the traffic so I-70 continues east through Bridgeton with only six lanes. It passes on the southern edge of Lambert St. Louis International Airport and through several bedroom communities, including Edmunson, Berkeley, Ferguson and Jennings crossing Interstate 170 in the process.

Finally entering the city of St. Louis, motorists encounter what are signed as the Express Lanes, known by MoDOT as the "reversible lanes".[15] Two lanes down the middle of the freeway are separated from the eastbound and westbound lanes by Jersey barriers. Because of changing traffic patterns due to the Interstate 64 reconstruction, the lanes run eastbound all day. MoDOT regularly monitors traffic patterns of this stretch of I-70 and will adjust the express lane traffic patterns accordingly.[15] These lanes have no entrance or exit ramps, except at the ends. They extend approximately 8 miles (13 km) from near Union Blvd to just north of downtown.

As I-70 enters downtown St. Louis it passes the Edward Jones Dome and the Gateway Arch. Finally it merges with Interstate 64, Interstate 55, and US 40 and crosses the Poplar Street Bridge over the Mississippi River to Illinois. Missouri and Illinois have agreed to build a new bridge across the Mississippi River north of the Edward Jones Dome.[16]

I-70 has been criticized for cutting off Downtown St. Louis from the Mississippi River waterfront particularly at the Gateway Arch. St. Louis is considering a $90 million project to cover the highway by the Arch.[17]

This is not the first controversy involving I-70 and the Arch. In 1959, builders of the Poplar Street Bridge asked for the National Park Service to give 25 acres (100,000 m2) of the park for the bridge. The request generated enormous controversy and ultimately 2.5 acres (10,000 m2) was turned over for use for the bridge.[18]

Future

Reconstruction of I-70

Interstate 70 across central Missouri is one of the oldest stretches of Interstate Highway in the system, as some sections date back as far as the late 1950s.[19] As a result, the exits often have short, substandard acceleration and deceleration ramps, and the median is relatively narrow, with certain spots of both directions of traffic being separated by no more than a Jersey barrier. Also, a number of overpasses have low clearance, especially railway overpasses. Long-term plans have been identified to expand the highway to between six and eight lanes across the middle of the state.[20] Tolling the Interstate has become a possible alternative, although the public does not support this idea. According to the improveI70.com website, tolling would not start until all 189 miles of I-70 is reconstructed.

A March 2010 study[21] of I-70 from the Kansas state line to the I-470 interchange identified several possible improvements, including expansion of the freeway from four to eight lanes, adding HOV or HOT lanes, reconstructing the Truman Road interchange and improving the curves at Jackson Avenue and Truman Road. Some novel ideas included a new alignment of I-70 as a tunnel from the southeast corner of the downtown loop to 22nd/23rd streets, covering the southern portion of the downtown loop (I-670) or making the downtown loop into a uni-directional freeway around downtown, essentially becoming a large roundabout.

Missouri-Illinois Bridge

Main article: New Mississippi River Bridge

The New Mississippi River Bridge is expected to be finished in 2015. It will redirect I-70 traffic off of the congested Poplar Street Bridge.[22]

Exit list

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Notes

  1. ^ I-670 in Google Maps also has I-70 on it because I-670 is designated "Alternate I-70".

References

Template:AttachedKML


Interstate 70
Previous state:
Kansas
Missouri Next state:
Illinois
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