I-70 truck-only lanes in Missouri subject of online public meeting

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The Missouri Department of Transportation is hosting an online public meeting about the possibility of truck-only lanes on Interstate 70 in Missouri. Also, a new state state law now bans trucks registered for a gross weight of 48,000 pounds or more from using the far left-hand lane when traveling on interstate highways, freeways or expressways in urban areas that have three or more lanes traveling in the same direction.

Along with information and video clips explaining the I-70 truck-only lane concept, the online meeting allows participants to ask questions, make comments and see other common questions and comments. Additionally, MoDOT has provided links to more detailed information on a range of technical and planning information. The online meeting is posted to www.improvei70.org and will be available through Sept. 26.

“Our goal is to have as many people as possible participate in our process,” says Bob Brendel, MoDOT project nanager. “We know that people across the state are interested in the idea of truck-only lanes. We also know that it isn’t always easy or possible to go to a standard public meeting.”

In the spring, MoDOT posted a video about truck-only lanes on YouTube, and more than 7,600 people watched it, Brendel says. “Building on that experience, we thought it was appropriate to conduct our next round of meetings electronically,” he says. “We need and want public input. We want to make sure that our final plan is not only smart from an engineering standpoint, but also that it truly reflects the values and priorities of the taxpayers who support our transportation system.”

The truck-only lane concept is being evaluated in comparison to widening I-70 to a minimum of six lanes across Missouri. The idea of separating longhaul trucks from everyday traffic has come out of public input on I-70, along with a national emphasis on creating greater efficiencies for the farms, stores and businesses that depend on trucks to ship their goods.

Those who prefer to talk with MoDOT representatives in person rather than electronically will have that opportunity via three listening stations scheduled across the state next month. The listening stations will take place at the following locations and times:

  • Sept. 9, 4 to 6 p.m.: O’Fallon, Wentville-Middendorf-Kredell Library, 2750 Hwy. K;
  • Sept. 10, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Columbia, Public Library, 100 W. Broadway; and
  • Sept. 10, 4 to 6 p.m., Oak Grove, Petro Truck Stop, 301 S.W. 1st St.
  • So far, the new restriction on using the far left-hand lane only applies to certain roadways in the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas. This restriction will not apply when traffic is directed to use a lane other than the right lane or if the right lane is closed to traffic while under construction or repair. There also will be exceptions when a truck needs to make a left-hand exit.

    MoDOT is producing signs to mark restricted areas and will begin installing them by mid-September. Prior to that, MoDOT’s Motor Carrier Services Division already has taken steps to inform the state’s trucking industry. MoDOT also will use its electronic message boards to notify drivers in the affected areas.