Highway 63 construction progresses in Mid-Missouri

Between Jefferson City and Columbia

Liberty Lane at U.S. 63 in Boone County will close at 8 a.m. Monday for paving operations. The closure is part of the Missouri Department of Transportation’s efforts to eliminate two median crossovers in the vicinity.

As part of the project, workers are adding a J-turn on U.S. 63, south of Peterson Lane. The new J-turn will replace the existing median crossovers at Liberty and Peterson lanes.

Patty Lemongelli, Central District construction and materials engineer, said J-turns are not popular with all drivers, but they improve safety.

“They remove the median crossings and reduce those right-angle and broad-side crashes that can be so devastating,” she noted.

Liberty Lane will reopen by 6 a.m. Thursday.

MoDOT officials are asking for drivers’ patience and attention as they engage in substantive repairs to Highway 63 between Columbia and Jefferson City.

The $8.48 million project includes a new bridge deck and driving surface for the Route M and Y overpass in Ashland, as well as repairs to the substructure and roundabouts to the east and west of the overpass.

Traffic lanes are also being closed periodically so workers can repair the highway’s pavement and improve its shoulders between Route WW in Columbia and U.S. 54 in Callaway County, a 27-mile stretch. Grading in the median along U.S. 63, south of Ashland, is currently underway and will require lane closures, MoDOT officials said Friday.

The work started in March and is expected to be completed by Nov. 1.

In the meantime, Lemongelli is asking drivers to please drive with caution through the work zones. She noted there are several throughout Mid-Missouri this spring.

In the last 12 days, two unrelated wrecks along U.S. 63 — one happened close to Rolling Hills Road; the other occurred at Peterson Lane — left a 29-year-old man with life-threatening injuries and took the life of a 19-year-old woman.

Although the accidents were not related to any lane closures or active work zones at the times they happened, they serve as reminders drivers must remain vigilant.

“We need people to pay attention. There is so much driver distraction these days with cell phones and texting. People are multitasking. It can be a very dangerous situation, especially when you are approaching a work zone,” she said.

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