COLUMBIA — Starting Tuesday, construction will cause a series of lane closures at the intersection of U.S. 63 and Hinton Road/Calvert Hill Road.
According to a release by the Missouri Department of Transportation, construction is estimated to take approximately 65 days, finishing around the end of August. MoDOT will keep one lane open in both directions during the course of the project.
Over the past decade there have been approximately 53 crashes at the intersection, according to the release. The planned improvements are designed to reduce that number by minimizing the number of points vehicles have the potential to collide.
To do this, offset left-turn lanes will be introduced to U.S. 63 both northbound and southbound. This means the turning lanes will be separated from the main lanes, and their placement will improve the driver's ability to see oncoming traffic when making a turn. An offset right-turn lane will also be added in the southbound direction of U.S. 63.
Acceleration and deceleration lanes will also be added in addition to a system of modified J-turns at the intersection.
According to previous Missourian reporting, J-turns, which are relatively new to Missouri, have been shown to make crossing to the far side of a divided highway much safer. Results of an MU study, funded by MoDOT, proved supporting statistics on safety.
According to the study, injury-causing accidents have been reduced by nearly 54 percent in areas where J-turns were introduced. The overall rate of vehicular collisions in these locations was reduced by a little more than a third, and the number of fatal crashes declined by 100 percent.
Modified J-turns, such as the ones that will be implemented, have the advantage of allowing drivers to make a left turn by first making a right-hand turn. Drivers then merge into the left lane, crossing the median of a divided highway to enter traffic and proceed in the intended direction. This eliminates the driver's need to cross fast-moving lanes of traffic moving in opposite directions.
APAC Missouri is contracting the $1.4 million project, the release said.
Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.