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Governor Parson breaks ground on Improve I-70

Governor Mike Parson traveled to Columbia today for the groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the official start of the expansion of Interstate 70.

The expansion, officially named “Improve I-70“, aims to expand about 200 miles of the highway from two to three lanes in each direction, as well as improve existing interchanges. Improve 1-70 is split into three projects, the first of which broke ground today in Columbia.

The first project will use $405 million to widen the corridor between Columbia and Kingdom City from two lanes in each direction to three.

The other part of the project will use $123 million from previously programmed Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) projects to improve Columbia’s  U.S. Route 63 to I-70 interchanges and the I-70 to U.S. Route 54 interchange in Kingdom City.

Parson is no stranger to large-scale infrastructure projects. At the end of last year, he announced the completion of his “Focus on Bridges” project, a three-year-long endeavor to improve bridge infrastructure across the state. Now he has announced the official beginning of another massive project.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a momentous occasion not only because we’re kicking off our historic Improve I-70 project, but it’s a culmination of the bold infrastructure initiatives we’ve prioritized since day one,” Parson said. “I-70 is one of Missouri’s oldest and most vital corridors. The safety and economic prosperity of Missourians depend on an interstate that grows along with the state and nation. Expanding I-70 to six lanes has been talked about in Jefferson City for decades, but our administration, in working with Senator Lincoln Hough and the General Assembly, is taking action and getting it done. We could not be more proud that the work we’re commemorating here today will continue serving Missourians for generations to come.”

State Senator Lincoln Hough was not present at the groundbreaking, but still served a vital role in getting the project this far. Hough served as Chair of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee and helped maneuver the funding through the General Assembly. Ultimately, $2.8 billion was set aside in the budget for the I-70 expansion.

“Today’s I-70 groundbreaking kicks off a historic, once-in-a-generation investment that will benefit Missouri businesses, commuters, and tourists alike for decades to come,” Hough said. “I was happy to lead this project’s development in the General Assembly and work with Governor Parson to lead the nation in large-scale infrastructure development. Expanding I-70 to six lanes has been needed for decades. It has been talked about for decades. Today, decades of talk turns to action. This project is pro-infrastructure, pro-business, pro-jobs, and, above all, pro-Missouri. We thank Governor Parson for being a leader in strengthening Missouri’s infrastructure as we look forward to continuing the strong foundation he has built on behalf of all Missourians.”

The first project has been contracted to Millston Weber, a construction company located in St. Charles, and Jacobs Inc., a technical professional firm located in Austin, Texas.

This project is set to begin construction this July and aims to be completed in late 2027. The second project, which will expand the Warrenton to Wentzville corridor, and the third project, which will expand the Blue Springs to Odessa corridor, are still in development. The remaining projects are currently awarding contracts, but the second project could start construction as early as next spring.

Although Parson has been with this project since its inception, even calling for funds during his 2023 State of the State Address, he will not be in office for its completion as he serves his final term as governor.