ST. LOUIS - It's one of the busiest roadways in Missouri, and it is falling apart. So, the Missouri Department of Transportation wants to re-build and expand I-70.
Currently, the roadway cuts down from three lanes, to two, in Wentzville as drivers head west across the state from St. Louis. MoDOT's plan would expand the roadway to keep it at three lanes in each direction all the way from St. Louis to Kansas City. But voters have to agree to pay for it first.
Those who frequent I-70 know how frequently it can back up.
"Traffic is just atrocious," said Francis Stuempel, who drives from Kansas City to Kentucky quite a bit.
He says semis are constantly causing backups along the way.
"It's a little bit frustrating," said Stuempel.
According to MoDOT, the average traffic on I-70 is more than triple what it was designed to handle when it was completed in the 1960s.
"It's a heavily traveled road, it's an interstate, and it's quite frankly falling apart," said Greg Horn, MoDOT District Engineer for the St. Louis region.
So, there is plan to fix it, which could cost as much as $1.5 billion. In August, voters will decide whether to pay for it with a ¾ cent sales tax over the next decade. The tax would also pay for hundreds of other projects across the state, fixing what MoDOT calls a funding crisis caused by its sole dependence on the state's gas tax.
"You just can't fund your transportation system that way when people are becoming less dependent on fuel," said Horn.
But, the group Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions is urging the state to find another way, saying the tax "...unjustly shifts the burden for road construction from highway users like the trucking industry to Missouri consumers and working families."
MoDOT does point out the projects the tax would fund not only include road projects, but also improvements to sidewalks, paths, and public transit. You can find a link to the complete list on MoDOT's website.