The long range vision of a reconstructed, higher capacity Interstate-70 between Kansas City and the St. Louis area is coming into sharper focus thanks to a new partnership between Kansas City SmartPort and the St. Louis Regional Freightway.
The two organizations have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to demonstrate their commitment to support improvements to Missouri’s east-west statewide I-70 corridor, which is vital to the global supply chains for many industries.
A catalyst for the new collaboration is the inclusion of a financial placeholder for the reconstruction of and added capacity on I-70 among the Missouri Department of Transportation’s recently released High Priority Unfunded Needs.
The MOU will serve as a marketing tool under which KC SmartPort and the St. Louis Regional Freightway will undertake activities aimed at raising awareness of the economic, multimodal and efficiency impact of the I-70 corridor and promoting improvements that will enhance the safety of travel along it. These efforts will help bring public and private sector leaders together to understand how infrastructure and efficiency impacts on-time delivery and cost for freight.
Both organizations recognize the power of collaboration to advance statewide initiatives like this and also to move projects forward in their respective regions. The St. Louis Regional Freightway’s Priority Projects list already includes multiple projects on I-70 in the St Louis region, some of which have recently secured funding. Examples include $62 million for the I-70 outer roads improvements from Fairgrounds Road to Cave Springs and $39 million for the I-70 bottleneck improvements from Wentzville to Route Z in St. Charles County.
Recognizing the importance of reliable infrastructure for companies such as True Manufacturing and the many others operating along I-70 and around the state, Missouri Governor Mike Parson in 2021 formed a new Supply Chain Task Force that both Gutierrez and Lamie serve on with other appointees.
There were 16 500,000-square-feet or bigger speculative buildings in the Kansas City market under construction, and he anticipated that half of those had been spoken for since then, given how fast the market is moving, with no signs of slowing down. St. Louis is also seeing a similar trend with spec buildings and industrial development.
The signing of the MOU was announced during a panel discussion on May 26 as part of FreightWeekSTL 2022. To learn more or register for the remaining sessions or view past sessions for FreightWeekSTL 2022, visit www.freightweekstl.com.