Skip to Content

ABC 17 News takes in-depth look at toll option for I-70

Missouri’s “Main Street” is in need of a revamp.

Studies have shown that Interstate 70 is becoming too congested. Officials from the Missouri Department of Transportation predict that in the next 15 years, much of the traffic on the corridor will be in stop-and-go condition.

While many are in favor of of reconstruction, the debate continues over how to fund the project.

There are three scenarios for an I-70 rebuild.

“One is the most bare-bones effort, which would be to add a minimum of one lane in each direction and replace all the pavement,” said Bob Brendel, a special assignments coordinator with MoDOT. That plan would cost $2 billion and would be done as much as possible within the existing right of way.

The price tag on the second scenario is around $3.5 billion. It would involve building three new lanes outside the existing corridor.

The third option would be an eight-lane facility with four lanes devoted to trucks and four lanes to general-purpose traffic. The plan comes in at around $4 billion.

While the plan may seem like a dream to drivers, the money is not there.

The cost of operating and maintaining I-70 in its current condition is already $50-million to $60 million per year. Also, MoDOT just announced a plan for major cutbacks in projects and even maintenance for some roads-when the department’s budget is set to drop in 2017.

Even the cheapest option for an I-70 revamp is unaffordable, which is where the toll option could come into play.

In a report to the governor on tolling options, MoDOT estimated that a trip across the state on I-70 would cost $20-$30 per car and $40-$90 for trucks.

If tolling moves forward in Missouri, a study would need to be done to determine rates, toll plaza locations and governance of the roads. None of those decisions can be made until lawmakers act.

State Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said all options are on the table for I-70. But he thinks the more pressing issue is the overall funding crisis for MoDOT’s entire system.

If lawmakers were to move forward with the toll option, it would still have to go before voters. A proposed sales tax to fund the I-70 project was voted down last year.

MoDOT has approval from the Federal Highway Administration to rebuild I-70 as a toll road. But that approval will expire if something is not done.

There has also been talk about raising the gas tax to pay for the project.

Missouri’s gas tax hasn’t gone up a in nearly 20 years.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

ABC 17 News Team


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content