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Scenic Missouri

An Ally of Scenic America

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Resolution on I-70 Rebuilding

Resolution HR4839 urges the House of Representatives to recommend that any House Committee addressing proposals regarding the rebuilding of I-70 consider the integration of elements designed to promote the state’s natural beauty by protecting the visual and scenic qualities of Missouri roadways. It is sponsored by Representative Robert Cornejo.

The Lewis and Clark Parkway Proposals for I-70

Two proposals were put forward by Scenic Missouri — one in 2004 and one in 2008 — which addressed opportunities presented by the urgent practical need to rebuild a deteriorating I-70 and to increase vehicle capacity across mid-Missouri.

Scenic Missouri, an organization devoted to improving the visual/scenic qualities of Missouri roadways, saw this as a great opportunity to remake one of the worst interstate highways in America into a rewarding aesthetic experience, exploiting this State’s great natural beauty, working with the topography, and integrating cultural, historic, and tourist attractions.

The first proposal, 2004; the Lewis and Clark Parkway (Parkway Proposal I), responded to a MODOT proposal to simply rebuild and widen I-70 to six lanes. Scenic Missouri’s countered that proposal with a parallel divided autos-only parkway built to freeway standards. Tolls were essential to make this feasible. The original proposal recommended that the parkway be a toll road; on reconsideration it was thought the tolls should be on l-70.

In 2008, MODOT floated a new scheme; widening I-70 to eight lanes — two lanes in each direction for cars, two in each direction for trucks. Scenic Missouri proposed that the auto lanes be periodically disengaged from I-70, in ten to twelve-mile segments to traverse Missouri’s scenic countryside, offering relief from the billboard-blighted, dead- straight monotonous I-70 alignment — again, integrating cultural and tourist-oriented attractions. This scheme was labeled the I-70 Rebuilding Alternative, or “Segmented Parkway” (Parkway Proposal II). It was calculated that, due to relative land acquisition costs, this proposal would be financially competitive with the MODOT scheme.

In any case, the inevitable I-70 rebuilding represents a unique opportunity to enhance and improve that highway. In all respects, including the aesthetic experience. It is an opportunity to celebrate Missouri’s scenic beauty and historic/cultural heritage. These proposals represent an urgent request to include these considerations in any scheme to rebuild I-70.

Downloadable copy of these proposals (.pdf)

Good Idea:

"Going Green: Thriving wildflowers become roadside attraction in Florida"

"Even though there had been a few previous attempts to promote roadside wildflowers, roadside vegetation 'had never been seen by the department as a benefit,' said state transportation landscape architect Jeff Caster.

Roadsides were seen 'as a liability rather than an asset, something the department needs to perpetually control and keep from protruding into the road.

But over time, that attitude has changed and a new approach is taking shape, he said.

The recent study by George Harrison, an economist with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, was arranged at the urging of the Florida Wildflower Foundation... 

Using formulas and estimates from studies elsewhere in the nation, Harrison concluded the 93,000 acres of state highway rights of way that are covered in plants are worth more than a half-billion dollars a year, in terms of runoff reduction, carbon storage and pollination...

'It's a little bit of choreography,' he said. 'You have to figure out the right time to mow and the frequency of mowing.'

Mowing has to wait until after wildflowers bloom and produce seeds, so the mowers can help distribute the wildflowers' seeds, he said. But without mowing the rest of the year, the wildflowers would be shaded out by other plants.

With the study in hand, Roberts said the Wildflower Foundation hopes to work with counties and the department to lobby for management that will keep the roadside ecosystems more natural, she said, adding beauty and providing more habitat for bees and other important pollinators."

-- Dinah Voyles Pulver , Daytona Beach News-Journal
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