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.”