Range Line Street construction makes drivers think about alternate routes

Sunday, July 20, 2008 | 6:13 p.m. CDT; updated 2:54 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Construction around Range Line Street has become a necessary inconvenience to northside Columbia residents, as the construction that began in early April is causing traffic delays.

“Right now we have an existing two-lane facility,” said Charles Sullivan, a resident engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation. “We are going to upgrade that facility to four lanes with a raised median, which allows left turns in certain areas. We are set to be complete in fall or early winter 2009.”

The delays drivers are currently facing are largely the result of a traffic signal change, caused by the absence of a left turn lane. Because of the road widening, there was not enough room to keep a left turn lane from Range Line Street to Blue Ridge Road. The light is timed to allow left-turning and forward-going traffic to proceed at the same time, as both sets of drivers are forced to sit in the same lane.

“The construction is necessary,” MU nursing student Stephanie Oetting said. “The roads were terrible before, and it was congested before construction started.”

Oetting went on to describe the current condition of the road. “I was stopped in traffic practically every time I drove the road. I would say it added at least five minutes every time and about 10 plus during high traffic hours,” she said.

Aurelian Sennett, a northside resident, will not even use Range Line anymore, but instead takes Garth Avenue.

“The road is packed and impossible around 5 p.m.,” he said. “I avoid it all the time, every single day, by taking Garth.”

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John Schultz July 22, 2008 | 11:47 a.m.

This wouldn't be an issue if MODOT or its contractor performed the work in a more sensible manner. The intersection of Rangeline, Route VV, and Prathersville Road had its signal replaced by stop signs over a month ago, yet the work to turn the intersection into another blasted roundabout has just now started (and the intersection could still be signalized).

The problems described in paragraph three of this story were caused by the removal of the west portion of the old roadway, yet little work has been performed there since the old roadway was removed. Why couldn't the old road had remained, keeping the old flow of traffic, until the contractor is truly ready to work that section?

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