Ashley Curry lives and works in Columbia. Lately, it’s often been taking her more than 30 minutes to commute from her home south of Nifong Boulevard to her office at Premier Bank, just north of Clark Lane.
“The construction on the Hominy Creek bridge forces me to leave 15 minutes earlier from my house to get to work on time,” Curry said. “With traffic down to one lane in each direction, it makes for a slow go during morning and evening rush hours.”
Although summer months usually mean less traffic congestion, motorists will have to contend with other traffic issues this summer due to several road projects under way across the area.
Traffic backups like those Curry encounters are a result of the reconstruction of the Hominy Creek bridge in the southbound lanes of U.S. 63 near the Broadway interchange, a project that’s scheduled to be complete by July 15.
Built in 1961, the bridge has endured more than four decades of heavy traffic and will be replaced at a cost of about $1 million. The northbound bridge, built in 1976, is in better condition and will not need to be replaced for several years.
Both southbound lanes are closed and traffic has been diverted to one of the northbound lanes, leaving only one lane for traffic in each direction. The bottleneck has caused traffic backups, particularly from 4 to 6 p.m. during the evening rush hour.
Lyn Woolford of the Columbia Police Department said traffic backups were minimal when construction began on the bridge.
“Since both southbound lanes have been shut down, we have seen a considerable increase in the number of accidents, simply because motorists are driving too fast, following too close or a combination of the two,” he said.
Woolford hopes less traffic during the summer will mean fewer accidents in work zones. He noted, however, that summer travel season brings many visitors through the area.
Missouri voters in November approved Amendment 3, which will provide more than $1.7 billion in additional money for transportation projects. Paired with already existing funds, the Missouri Department of Transportation’s five-year construction program totals $7.2 billion. Amendment 3 funding has already financed resurfacing projects across the state, including the ongoing repaving of northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. 63 between Columbia and Jefferson City.
Crews are preparing the pavement for several phases of resurfacing in the next five months. This project totals over $10 million and is set to be finished this fall.
Central District Planning Engineer Jay Bestgen said crews are working through the night on some of the projects.
These Missouri Department of Transportation road projects in Boone County are scheduled for completion by fall 2006. Bids are expected to be awarded this year for all of the projects except the Silver Fork Creek bridge replacement.
- Replacing a two-lane bridge over Silver Fork Creek on Route V, 3.1 miles south of Route CC., for about $600,000.
- Pavement grinding and shoulder sealing in the north and southbound lanes of U.S. 63 from two miles north of Missouri 763 to 1.3 miles south of Interstate 70. The $1.2 million project is financed with Amendment 3 funds
- Resurfacing westbound lanes on I-70 from Grindstone Creek in Boone County to Cooper County at a cost of $2.3 million.
- Resurfacing eastbound lanes on I-70 from U.S. 63 to the Callaway County line at a cost of $1.2 million.
- Pavement grinding and shoulder sealing on Missouri 163, or Providence Road, from Stadium Boulevard to 0.1 mile north of Route K. This project totals more than $400,000 and is financed with Amendment 3 funds.
- Pavement grinding and shoulder sealing on Missouri 740 at various locations from north of I-70 to the U.S. 63 interchange. This project totals more than $884,000 and is financed with Amendment 3 funds.
A portion of this report first aired Sunday during the “ABC 17 News at 10.”