Commuters, take note: Beginning Sunday, the Missouri Department of Transportation will begin closing ramps and lanes at one of Kansas City’s busiest interchanges.
The interchange at Interstates 435 and 70 by the Truman Sports Complex is the main target. It's a necessary move, MoDOT engineer Matt Killion said, because the bridges need to be replaced.
“The two bridges on the interchange were built as part of the original interstate system in the early '60s,” he said.
But the project quickly expanded as engineers realized they could broaden the scope of the improvements to include eliminating left exits, easing the curves and grading on ramps and widening I-435 from two to three lanes.
It'll snarl traffic for a while, as MoDOT expects the work to take two years, through December 2020. (Day-to-day details for the week of March 11 are posted on the department website.)
But Killion said the department is trying to minimize headaches for drivers.
“We expect some slow-downs and possibly congestion,” he said while overlooking the busy interchange. “Allow some extra travel time. But the detours are fairly simple and I think folks will get used to them pretty easily."
The "partial turbine" configuration is being used for the first time in Kansas City, and is meant to enhance the interchange's safety and relieve congestion.
“We have over 120,000 cars per day on I-70 and nearly 100,000 thousand on (I-435),” he said.
A 2018 Environmental Impact Statement on improvements to the I-70 corridor suggested “closing and consolidating” some exchanges, including the one between I-435 and I-70, to reduce “merging and weaving” as well as improving highway shoulders.
The $47 million project is mostly funded through the federal Department of Transportation, though the state will kick in about 20 percent of that total.