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Old 02-23-2009, 04:29 PM
 
Location: The City of St. Louis
938 posts, read 3,489,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northbound74 View Post
Even the most rural parts of I-70 in MO has substantially more traffic than some other interstates. I drive from KC to Omaha, Des Moines, and Minneapolis on occasion, and the traffic is much lighter in those areas, with far fewer trucks, as well.
In Missouri, it's almost like city driving for 4 hours straight between KC and St. Louis. It's not relaxing at all.
I agree with that...I drove it one Sunday from Lawrence to Columbia and back and the traffic was rough. Really no "open road" on the way there or the way back...I was always held up by a semi or a car. I think probably the only worse rural interstates I've driven on have been I-35 between San Antonio and Dallas and I-95 anywhere north of DC. I've had to literally sit in traffic jams in the middle of nowhere on both of those highways when driving them on Fridays or the weekend.

Compared to say I-30 between Dallas and Little Rock, a road that I often drive, I-70 definitely seemed to have a lot more traffic, but I haven't been on it that part of I-70 really that much. The traffic does seem to open up a lot more once it gets into Illinois. I can set the cruise at 74 mph for miles and miles on end on I-30 once I get past Dallas.

And yeah, I'm all for smart infrastructure projects, but the I-69/NAFTA superhighway is a load of crap. Billions of dollars of our money being spent so goods can have a 200 mile shorter route from Mexico to Canada. Greater profits and more American jobs being shipped south, and its all being done on our dime. Talk about a poor cost-benefit ratio...sadly a lot of infrastructure projects built for political reasons have very poor cost-benefit ratios (such as most most of the TVA and Bureau of Reclamation dams). And this is coming from a civil engineer...I need infrastructure projects to be planned and built so I can have a job!
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:07 PM
 
160 posts, read 515,859 times
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I drive this stretch quite a bit, and a truck lane almost seems essential. True, an additional lane would be nice in general, but this stretch of Interstate is highly commercial in nature. When you start entering the Metro areas themselves it seems down right dangerous.
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:32 PM
 
160 posts, read 515,859 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
MoDOT looks into truck lanes on I-70 - Independence, MO - The Examiner

I don't think it's really needed. If we just widen 70 to six lanes that would be enough.

The biggest thing that bugs me about the idea is that I-70 needs to be improved in KC and it will be silly to have an 8 lane interstate in the rural areas and and metro St Louis and the old run down six lane 1-70 in the KC area.

This is true, St. Louis even has a reversible Express Lane running through I-70 starting closer to Downtown with barricades to prevent exits and lane switching. The far left lane is also designated as 'Truck Free' although this doesn't even seen close to being enforced....There is also an 'encouragement sign' for all non-local traffic to use the I-270 bypass, which, by the way, is even more congested than I-70....
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Tippecanoe County, Indiana
26,364 posts, read 46,164,016 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OA 5599 View Post
I agree with that...I drove it one Sunday from Lawrence to Columbia and back and the traffic was rough. Really no "open road" on the way there or the way back...I was always held up by a semi or a car. I think probably the only worse rural interstates I've driven on have been I-35 between San Antonio and Dallas and I-95 anywhere north of DC. I've had to literally sit in traffic jams in the middle of nowhere on both of those highways when driving them on Fridays or the weekend.

Compared to say I-30 between Dallas and Little Rock, a road that I often drive, I-70 definitely seemed to have a lot more traffic, but I haven't been on it that part of I-70 really that much. The traffic does seem to open up a lot more once it gets into Illinois. I can set the cruise at 74 mph for miles and miles on end on I-30 once I get past Dallas.

And yeah, I'm all for smart infrastructure projects, but the I-69/NAFTA superhighway is a load of crap. Billions of dollars of our money being spent so goods can have a 200 mile shorter route from Mexico to Canada. Greater profits and more American jobs being shipped south, and its all being done on our dime. Talk about a poor cost-benefit ratio...sadly a lot of infrastructure projects built for political reasons have very poor cost-benefit ratios (such as most most of the TVA and Bureau of Reclamation dams). And this is coming from a civil engineer...I need infrastructure projects to be planned and built so I can have a job!
I will tell you about a less crowded stretch of I-70. That stretch would be west of Salina all the way to eastern Colorado. I used to live out in northwest Kansas in the town of Hays, and the Interstate was what many call "a true economic reality." The highway served to foster many light commercial, dealerships, and retail for a large rural area. My relatives operate the family ranch in northwest Kansas, and it can be very desolate out there. I have deep respect for those that make a living out on the Plains, and deal with such brutal weather conditions. The frontier mentality can still be found, but nearly all of the younger people have left. That is why there are so many ghost towns as the small farms and ranches have consolidated, and have become absolutely enormous in size. 2000 acres out there is not really a big chunk of land due to the enormity of scope.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:13 PM
 
Location: The City of St. Louis
938 posts, read 3,489,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraniteStater View Post
I will tell you about a less crowded stretch of I-70. That stretch would be west of Salina all the way to eastern Colorado. I used to live out in northwest Kansas in the town of Hays, and the Interstate was what many call "a true economic reality." The highway served to foster many light commercial, dealerships, and retail for a large rural area. My relatives operate the family ranch in northwest Kansas, and it can be very desolate out there. I have deep respect for those that make a living out on the Plains, and deal with such brutal weather conditions. The frontier mentality can still be found, but nearly all of the younger people have left. That is why there are so many ghost towns as the small farms and ranches have consolidated, and have become absolutely enormous in size. 2000 acres out there is not really a big chunk of land due to the enormity of scope.
I've driven on that stretch on my way out to Colorado a few times...and yes, it sure is pretty empty! I think the speed limit on that road could easily be 90+ with how flat, straight, and open it is.

I've stopped in Hays a few times and it actually seems like a pretty nice little town. I guess the college must liven it up a bit. Between Hays and Denver to the west and Salina to the east it definitely does seem pretty desolate though. I've only driven it on dry summers and in the dead of winter, which makes it seem worse...I'd like to see it in the spring when the plains are green.

I can only imagine living out there on the plains and making a living. Growing up the Ozarks is a cakewalk in comparison I'm sure, with how few people live out there and the extreme weather conditions. Do they pump groundwater for irrigation out there? I think another huge problem facing our country and that the high plains is when they finally finish off all of the groundwater in the Ogalla aquifer, as it will be hard to grow anything out there.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
11,108 posts, read 23,676,893 times
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I-70 across MO is not that crowded. Sure, compared to I-70 in Kansas or Nebraska, it seems like you are in a metro area when you drive across MO. But six lanes across the state is all that is needed. This is not the 5 between LA and San Diego or 75 north of Atlanta or 35 between Dallas and San Antonio or the Jersey Turnpike.

Once you get past suburban KC and StL, traffic in MO is a walk in the park, even now, with 4 lanes.

The problems are mostly slow drivers in the left lane or drivers that won’t pass and obstruct traffic flow. If you are being passed on the left (or especially right) by a semi than you should get off the interstate and take the frontage roads or some other route. There should be more strict rules for cars and trucks on interstates so we don't have to widen them to 8 lanes just so we have two more lanes to get around the morons, which will no doubt make their way over into the new left lanes.

I just don't get why MoDot would spend billions of dollars to widen 70 across the state when there are so many other needs, especially in the KC area. StL has practically rebuilt their entire interstate system and has built many more super highways like 370, page, 64 in west county etc.

While KC still has crumbling major interstates dating back to the 50's, lanes that drop at major interchanges like 435, cloverleaf ramps, dangerously short merge lanes, old overpasses and other bridges. I-70 between downtown KCMO and Blue Springs is a total joke and we want to widen I-70 clear out in the rural areas to 8 lanes?

Seriously?

I-70 is not even six lanes in all of Blue Springs. What does KC have to do? Wait till I-70 is widened to KC from the StLouis Side? By the time we add a third lane to Grain Valley, it will be six lanes between Columbia and St Louis. It's halfway there now.

I wouldn't evens support widening I-70 to six lanes across the state till the state fixes I-70 in the KC area. Then I would still say make 70 six lanes.

8 lanes with truck lanes is so overkill, especially when there are so many other needs.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:38 PM
 
Location: in a pond with the other human scum
2,361 posts, read 2,517,561 times
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If the standard for how busy I-70 in Missouri is whether you've seen less-crowded interstates, then I-72 from Hannibal to Springfield IL will make 70 look like I-95 down the Atlantic seaboard by comparison. There's not only almost no traffic-- there are almost no towns, and therefore no exits, for almost all that stretch. That HAD to be some form of corporate welfare for a favored highway contractor...not that any such thing would EVER exist in Illinois, of course....And that's what I see as the ultimate driving (sic) force behind widening 70 in Missouri. It ain't about the infrastructure, folks- it's about making more money for the companies who get the contracts.

There's almost no place on 70 going through Missouri where, in the ordinary course of things, you're going to be slowed down to less than the speed limit for any appreciable period of time-- and then, it's usually by some airhead on a cell phone in the fast lane or (my favorite) the Old Coot who going to make darned sure that you young whippersnappers won't be speeding, so he'll stay in the inside lane, drive the speed limit, and use traffic in the right lane to make sure you don't get around him.

On the other hand, I would be close to ecstatic if a high-speed train connected KC (and ergo Columbia, I hope) to St. Louis, and then to Chicago. THAT is infrastructure I can believe in.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:22 PM
 
3,326 posts, read 8,811,750 times
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Once you put it in perspective, I suppose I-70 isn't that bad, but I still hate having to drive it.
High-speed rail sounds cool, but I'm not sure the average American would use it.
We tend to pack heavy, and shop a lot. Also, once you reach Kansas City or St. Louis, the local transit systems are woefully inadequate, causing many to rent cars.
Then they realize they could have just brought their own car, and saved themselves a lot of trouble.
I'm not very familiar with Chicago, but it sounds like they have a substantially better public transit system to use once you get there.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:59 PM
 
Location: in a pond with the other human scum
2,361 posts, read 2,517,561 times
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The idea of the high-speed rail is to replace a fair amount of commuter air traffic and car traffic-- say, between St. Louis and Kansas City. Trains are actually quite convenient for business travelers doing business in a downtown area. I have to go to Chicago from Columbia 2-4 times per year for business, and my strong preference is to take the Southwest Limited from La Plata, about a 70-mile drive north from Columbia. I don't have to drive, so I can get work done or just relax in the vistacruiser car. I don't have to park or-- well, you guys complain about traffic on I-70...how about being a country mouse trying to drive Chicago's freeways, or in the Loop? I can do it 'cause I'm a road warrior from way back but THAT is stressful. Union Station is right there downtown, no more than a $10 cab ride to any place I might need to go.

I think the average American would use high-speed rail, particularly when gas spikes back up to $4-5/gallon. Not if-- when. And so much of travel is business-related that high-speed train travel becomes very attractive, particularly if travel times rival air travel, which they can, esp. when you factor in the time factor of going to the airport, parking in a remote lot so you don't pay a fortune in fees, checking in bag unless you can fly light, the interminable security lines-- and then the good chance that the flight is late.

People use the Acela high-speed train on the east coast already. It WORKS-- commuter rail generally works there. Things are changing and it will work in the midwest too.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:42 PM
 
3,326 posts, read 8,811,750 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
T

I think the average American would use high-speed rail, particularly when gas spikes back up to $4-5/gallon. Not if-- when. And so much of travel is business-related that high-speed train travel becomes very attractive, particularly if travel times rival air travel, which they can, esp. when you factor in the time factor of going to the airport, parking in a remote lot so you don't pay a fortune in fees, checking in bag unless you can fly light, the interminable security lines-- and then the good chance that the flight is late.

People use the Acela high-speed train on the east coast already. It WORKS-- commuter rail generally works there. Things are changing and it will work in the midwest too.
I hope you're right, except for the $4-5 a gallon part. You're most certainly right about that, though.
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