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Officials mull need for options to reroute 6,000 vehicles a day

Drivers who may typically take Missouri 179 north to the west side of Jefferson City are finding themselves in slow traffic in the mornings as they take Ellis Boulevard to U.S. 54 or Southwest Boulevard. Officials are waiting to see if more changes will be needed in some areas to handle increased traffic.

Drivers who may typically take Missouri 179 north to the west side of Jefferson City are finding themselves in slow traffic in the mornings as they take Ellis Boulevard to U.S. 54 or Southwest Boulevard. Officials are waiting to see if more changes will be needed in some areas to handle increased traffic. Photo by Julie Smith.

After a few days of having part of Missouri 179 shut down, local transportation officials said they are still working to determine if they’ll need to make changes to handle increased traffic volumes in areas motorists will be using to get around the construction.

The area between Route C and Edgewood Drive closed to all traffic on Monday for the construction of a new diamond interchange near the site of the future St. Mary’s Health Center.

For about three months, crews will remove the existing highway and excavate for Mission Drive, the new road that will go beneath the highway and lead to the new hospital development.

MoDOT officials said about 6,000 vehicles travel this section of 179 daily.

“Typically on a Monday, people forget if something like this is going to take place and they go their same route,” said Jefferson City engineer Matt Morasch. “We’re seeing congestion during both the morning and afternoon rush hours. We’ve had some congestion at signals at Edgewood and Stadium and at Southwest and Stadium. Our signal people are out and in some cases they’ve been manually operating them just to help traffic flow. Stadium and Edgewood was already congested before this, and as time goes along we may need to look at improvements there.”

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