The Missouri Department of Transportation says work on the Improve I-70 project from I-64 to Warrenton should begin sometime in late 2024.
Work to add a third lane to Interstate 70 through Warren County could start as soon as a year from now.
The section from the I-64 interchange near Wentzville through Warrenton has been listed as phase two of the six phase project that will add an additional eastbound and westbound lane to the interstate.
“We’re going to start engaging our contractor with contract documents as early as March of next year,” Eric Kopinski, the Improve I-70 program director for MoDOT said. “And we plan to have a contract awarded by October of next year. So around this time next year, we’ll have a contract under way for that project.”
In the meantime, Kopinski said MoDOT will be working to ensure the area is ready so that work can begin on the new lanes on day one.
“All our contractors and consultants want to do is come in and just build the project,” Kopinski said.
“The more utilities we can clear, railroads we can have sorted out, geotechnical analysis done, that’s what our teams are focused on right now.”
During July meetings with city officials in Warrenton, Wright City and Truesdale, MoDOT said the money allotted for the project was just to add the third lane. However, Kopinski said the team is looking at other potential improvements that can be made.
“Our current estimates show with inflation and everything else, we can get the third lane in each direction and we’re hopeful we can do other improvements,” he said. “So we’re taking a close look at everything and each situation is going to be a little different for where we are on the corridor.”
During the Truesdale board of aldermen meeting June 13, Mayor Jerry Cannon said he had been told at a meeting that the initial plan was to completely take out the Stracks Church Road bridge over the highway.
He said that “would be a horrible idea for both Wright City and Truesdale and Warrenton, too,” Cannon said. “So that was a major issue that we all opposed for sure.”
Kopinski did not confirm that was still part of the plan, but said there were some projects slated to go before the I-70 project was approved.
“Those interchanges or those bridges of I-70 were already programmed to be a bridge replacement, so that money is already slotted,” he said. “We will incorporate those with this project and our team will administer those and we’re currently working through. Is it better to have the larger project come through and take care of those or are those bridges going to be in good enough condition to last that long?”
Cannon said following the meeting he believed that MoDOT is aware it would be a mistake to tear down that Stracks Church overpass.
A public meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 12 at the Warrenton City Annex Building where members of the public can address MoDOT officials.
Cannon and Kopinski encouraged anyone with concerns about the project to attend that meeting.
“We want to hear just as importantly what feedback individuals have, if there’s a particular area that they’re concerned about or if they want to see overpasses replaced, now is the time we’re really trying to gather all that,” Kopinski said.
The latest information about the I-70 project can be found at modot.org/improvei70/home.
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at email@example.com