MoDOT focuses on technology and public input for I-70 improvements

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is looking for new ideas to fund construction along Interstate 70 as part of the "Road to Tomorrow" initiative.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission asked the department to create a team of MoDOT employees to generate ideas for the future needs of I-70.

The goal of the initiative is to encorporate technology into the infrastrucutre and possibly generate money for future construction.

MoDOT Interim Director Roberta Broeker said "Road to Tomorrow" allows people to submit their ideas to incorporate technology in the infrastructure.

Broeker said this is not a plan, but a vision for the future.

"It is MoDOT saying, we as a nation and we as a state agency, can be aspirational," Broeker said.

She said MoDOT hopes to utilize new technology to fund necessary changes to I-70, such as additional lanes along the interstate. She said 75 submissions have already come in through its website and that some of them look promising.

"We have a couple of people approach us with this," Broeker said. "One of them is a gentleman who envisions actually embedding within the road surface and the panels to build the road would be in pieces."

Broeker said ideas like this might require a fee for drivers that use the technology on the road, or an effort from the legislature with toll fees or a tax.

Broeker said there is no timeline for this initiative, but it is different than previous ideas because it focuses on technology. However, people should not expect a speedy decision because it is still in its early stages.

"This is by no means a short-term endeavor," Broeker said.

Broeker said that since car technology has come a long way, hopefully infrastructure technology can as well.

"It's not widely or well-known yet," Broeker said. "But we need to be forward looking because we don't know what else is out there."

Ideas for improving the interstate can be submitted on MoDOT's Road to Tomorrow page.