ST. CHARLES, Mo. — The widening of Interstate 70 was one of the main items on the agenda at Wednesday morning’s Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission meeting in St. Charles.

Now that Governor Mike Parson signed off on the plan to expand I-70 in Columbia and suburban areas of Kansas City and St. Louis, the state’s Transportation Commission was able to meet and discuss the next steps.

“What we were able to do is bring some of the initial transactions to the commission,” Patrick McKenna, Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, said. “So, we have a couple of essentially consulting contracts that we’ve been able to expand to do some of the survey and public engagement work, and to get underway.”

The work on widening the 200-mile stretch of I-70 costs almost $3 billion.

The $2.8 billion was allocated in the budget for the I-70 project, with $1.4 billion coming from general revenue and the other $1.4 billion from bonds.

This will be spent to add an extra lane on I-70 from Wentzville to Blue Springs.

Drivers can expect to see construction in some areas by next summer. Before that, the department has to re-evaluate the environmental study that was done back in 2005. The process will take about a year.

McKenna said there will be another commission meeting next month, where they will be able to share where they’re going to start.

“We need to understand the industry’s capacity to be able to do this work,” McKenna said. “This is a lot of work to be done, and we have to feather that in with $10 billion of additional work that’s already funded.”

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, who was present at the commission meeting, said the county has been working with MoDOT to make this project possible.

“St. Louis is the gateway to the west, but if you want to go west from St. Louis, you’ve got to squeeze under a railroad bridge on two lanes of traffic,” Ehlmann said. “And if you try to do that going west in the afternoon, or coming east in the morning, it might take you 45 minutes or more.”

According to MoDOT, project development will take another year. This will allow them to determine how the work should be broken into segments.

Construction will take approximately four to five years.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission also approved the FY 2024-2028 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which makes available nearly $14 billion of federal and state revenues for all modes of transportation over the next five years.