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Columbia discusses road expansion plans

Major changes could be coming to a Columbia road and it may end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars extra.

The Columbia Area Transportation Study Organization (CATSO) met on Thursday to update plans to connect I-70 and Scott Boulevard.

The committee is made up of city, county and Missouri Department of Transportation officials.

At Thursday’s meeting, the group changed the interchange expansion plan to “reflect reality,” which is about eight times more expensive than originally expected.

The new price of the project, which would connect Scott Boulevard from West Broadway to Sorrels Overpass and then to I-70, will be anywhere from $60 million to $70 million.

It would be a complete interchange so that traffic from the interstate would not need to use the Stadium Boulevard interchange.

Thursday’s meeting allowed the project plan to reflect the larger scope of what would be happening. Previously, the cost was set at $8 million and the interchange was smaller.

Now, city officials are trying to figure out where to get the money from.

“It takes a lot of engineering, a lot of steel and concrete, so it will take a while to raise that money and most of it will have to be federal and a significant amount ,we hope, will come from MoDOT and it always take a little local money too,” said city manager Mike Matthes.

Matthes said there is no timeline for the project but he hopes the money will be raised within three years.

The committee also updated the Stadium Boulevard and Highway 63 expansion plan. That project will also cost more than originally expected because of additional construction plans.

City leaders said the area is getting busier and more congested, so upgrades to the roads and sidewalks are necessary for safety reasons.

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