Missouri’s Interstate 70 between Kansas City and St. Louis is being made available to private entities to use as a “laboratory for construction of the next generation of highways.”
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC) announced the plans to open up the highway, dubbed “Road to Tomorrow”, at its June meeting.
“It’s only appropriate that the re-birth of the nation’s interstate system begin at its birthplace,” MHTC Chairman Stephen R. Miller said. “Missouri has always been at the heart of highway transportation—not only because the state’s geographic location puts it at the nation’s core, but also because of the role it’s played in the realization of Eisenhower’s dream.”
Missouri was the first state to award a contract for interstate construction on a portion of Interstate 44, and subsequently was the first state to begin new construction on an interstate with I-70 in St. Charles.
“Missouri has always been a hub for transportation technology and innovation – and our highways should be no exception,” said Gov. Jay Nixon. “As we continue to work to identify a solution to our transportation funding needs, I appreciate the Missouri Department of Transportation for taking a pro-active approach and embracing new technologies that will pave the way toward a brighter future.”
“We’re open to any and all ideas,” Miller said. “Just as the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) design-build projects over the last decade have produced insights and innovations not previously imagined, we are confident that offering free reign to human creativity and a designated site for implementation will generate the very best in American ingenuity.”
The Road to Tomorrow team is made up of six MoDOT employees:
- Tom Blair, St. Louis Metro District, assistant district engineer operations
- Robert Brendel, communications division, special assignments coordinator
- Kellen Burns, web manager
- Jennifer Harper, research engineer
- Jonathan Nelson, Traffic and Highway Safety Division, traffic management and operations engineer
- James Pflum, assistant to the resident engineer
“Road to Tomorrow” talking points, from MoDOT
Time to Think Differently … “Road to Tomorrow”
- The Missouri Department of Transportation is making Interstate 70 across the midsection of our state available to the nation and the world as the laboratory to construct the next generation of highways.
- We’re issuing a call for private industry, entrepreneurs and innovators to bring their products and ideas to the birthplace of the interstate highway and collaborate with MoDOT to build the first section of the highway of the future. It’s only appropriate that the re-birth of the interstate highway begin at its birthplace.
- MoDOT has assembled a multidisciplinary team to interface with private partners. Missouri has no preconceived plan. There are no bad ideas.
- Just as design-build projects over the last decade have produced insights and innovations that could not have previously been imagined, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission believes that offering free reign to human creativity and a designated site for implementation will generate the very best in American ingenuity.
- At a time when the nation and Missouri wrestle with how to fund reconstruction of this great interstate system, this effort must be focused not only on new technologies but new means of funding transportation. For instance, will the highway of the future be subscription-based in order to provide additional services to benefit both commercial and passenger car use? New technologies offer new opportunities for funding.
- Even as Missouri seeks to boldly go where we have not gone before, it must also keep its feet firmly rooted in the realities of the moment. “Road to Tomorrow” is years – maybe decades – away. In the interim Missouri must continue to find ways to preserve its current system. A modest increase in the gas tax remains the most viable means to that end.