J-Turn could open at U.S. 54 and Route E in Cole Co. Friday

Motorists traveling on U.S. 54 in Cole County will soon be able to drive the new "j-turn" at Route E, an engineering solution new to mid-Missouri that MoDOT officials believe is designed to improve safety and traffic flow through the area.

The j-turn and other intersection improvements are scheduled to open as early as Friday, weather permitting.

The "j-turn" is an alternative to traditional roadway intersections on a four-lane highway. Instead of motorists crossing fast-moving lanes of traffic to get to the opposing lanes, drivers at a j-turn intersection turn right in the same direction of traffic, merge into the left lane, and then make a left turn in the direction they intend to travel.

Although drivers will have to travel slightly further to get where they want to go, MoDOT officials have said using J-turns can take the same or less time than trying to wait for a safe and appropriate gap to cross traffic.

Contractor crews for the MoDOT built the new j-turn for vehicles on Route E that need to head west on 54.

Motorists will also find acceleration and deceleration lanes, offset left turn lanes, and other modifications in the Route E and West Brazito Road area.

"The contractor is scheduled to install signing and finish up in the area sometime this week," said Transportation Project Manager Trent Brooks. "Depending on their schedule, the intersection could open on Friday or early the following week."

Motorists should also be aware that work continues through late November near the intersection of U.S. 54 and Honey Creek Road, where j-turns and other lane modifications are under construction.

Periodic lane closures should be expected in both eastbound and westbound lanes of U.S. 54 during working hours.

Work at these intersections is part of a larger project to improve safety and traffic flow at 12 intersections along approximately 8.5 miles of U.S. 54 between Route CC and Old Bass Road.

The $3.7 million project is scheduled for completion in fall 2012.

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