COLUMBIA — A 27-mile stretch of U.S. 63 between Columbia and Jefferson City will be repaved over the next several months.
The $6.2 million “mill and fill” project consists of digging up the old pavement and replacing it with about 2 inches of fresh asphalt. Work, which is expected to begin by the end of the month, will occur between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., and traffic during those hours will be reduced to one lane. Chuck Sullivan, an engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation, said working at night will help reduce major traffic delays.
MoDOT said on its website that all lanes will be open in time for the morning commute.
An average of 49,707 vehicles travel the stretch of highway every day. The number includes cars as they travel in both directions, so some might be counted twice.
The northbound driving lane of U.S. 63 will be paved first. Once crews reach Route WW, they’ll turn around and start paving the southbound driving lane of the highway back toward Callaway County. Once the driving lanes on both sides are paved, crews will pave the passing lanes in the same pattern, Sullivan said.
“It’s kind of like a racetrack,” Sullivan said. “(The contractor will) do one lap at a time.”
Contractor APAC-Missouri will do the work. It also will do some bridge work on the routes M and Y overpass in Ashland, install roundabouts at routes M and Y at the U.S. 63 overpass, and add a J-turn on U.S. 63 south of Peterson Lane. The total project cost is $8.48 million.
That section of the highway was last paved in 2005. Sullivan said the typical lifespan of asphalt is seven to nine years.
“It’s lived its life,” Sullivan said.
Construction was scheduled to begin Tuesday, but Sullivan said rain earlier in the week forced the department to push back the project. Work now is scheduled to begin either Friday or Monday.
Despite the delayed start, Sullivan said the project should be done by November.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.