From snow in late March to flooding in mid-August, MoDOT officials said 2013 was a challenging year for transportation in Central Missouri. Here's a look back at some of the events, projects and progress that impacted area travel in 2013.
Mother Nature deals several unusual blows - Just when MoDOT crews thought they could put away their snow blades and salt for the year, an unseasonably late snow blanketed Mid-Missouri on March 24. MoDOT crews faced another unusual weather-related challenge in August when the Osage and Gasconade Rivers and other waterways left their banks and flooded numerous area roadways, including I-44 and U.S. 50 and U.S. 63.
Rock slide closes U.S. 63 - MoDOT moved quickly to award a $600,000 emergency repair contract on March 29 to stabilize a rock bluff along 63 near the Boone/Callaway County line. A rock slide at that location closed one lane of 63 for several weeks. The project was completed in early May.
Mid-Missouri's first diverging diamond interchange opens - Central Missouri's first diverging diamond interchange opened to traffic Oct. 14 at Stadium Boulevard and I-70 in Columbia. The new interchange is a part of a $12.8 million cost-share project that includes widening Stadium to make travel safer and less congested in the area.
Hurricane Deck bridge opens; old spans blasted - A new, safer Hurricane Deck Bridge carrying Missouri 5 over the Lake of the Ozarks opened to traffic on Sept. 10. Construction of the $32.3 million bridge, which began in May of 2012, was completed three months ahead of schedule. Two spans of the original, 77-year-old bridge were taken down by explosives on Dec. 7 and 21, respectively. The third span is scheduled to be blasted in mid-January.
New Osage River Rail Bridge removes bottleneck - A new $28 million, 1,200-foot railroad bridge across the Osage River opened Nov. 25, ahead of schedule and under budget. With the completion of the railroad bridge, located just east of Jefferson City in Osage City, the rail corridor between St. Louis and Jefferson City now consists entirely of two main line tracks.
Shoulders widened on many two-lane highways - The completion of several shoulder
widening projects resulted in more than 100 miles of safety improvements to Missouri's two-lane highways, including edge line rumble strips, added shoulder recovery area, and improved edge line visibility. Several miles of improvements also included center line rumble strips for additional safety.
Study shows J-turns eliminate fatal traffic crashes - A University of Missouri-Columbia study of five intersections in Missouri where J-turns have been installed shows the alternative solutions to traditional intersections reduced fatal crashes by 100 percent and cut injury crashes in half. In addition, the study found that the number of crashes resulting in disabling injuries dropped by 86 percent, while the number of all crashes at the J-turn intersections declined by 35 percent.
Grant to apply High Friction Surface Treatment - The sharp turns on eastbound and westbound U.S. 54 at Madison Street in Jefferson City are now safer thanks to an innovative pavement treatment. Called High Friction Surface Treatment, the pavement treatment provides more traction for vehicles in adverse travel conditions such as rain, ice or snow. A portion of the funding for the project came from a Federal Highway Administration grant.
Route Z project completed in Columbia - State and local officials celebrated the completion of the Route Z project on Aug. 13. In addition to building a roundabout at Route Z and St. Charles Road, the project included replacing the existing Route Z bridge over I-70 and resurfacing and widening Route Z from I-70 to St. Charles Road.
Innovative bridge part of U.S. 50 four-lane project - MoDOT partnered with the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla to build a bridge that is expected to be stronger, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than your average bridge. This unique bridge, which will carry U.S. 50 over the Maries River, is located in Osage County and was built as part of the new 50 four-lane project.
U.S. 50 expansion reaches halfway point - The four-lane expansion of U.S. 50 in Osage County, from the U.S. 50/63 junction to County Road 604 west of Linn, reached the halfway mark in November. Currently, the 6.6-mile expansion project is on schedule to be completed by the September 2014 target date and is also on pace to come in on budget.
Several highways get new names - A section of U.S. 63 in Vienna was named the "Leona Williams Highway" on Oct. 21 in honor of the country music entertainer and native Missourian who grew up in Vienna. In addition, I-70 and I-44 were designated as the Purple Heart Trail in Missouri. A ceremony unveiling one of 16 memorial highway signs now erected along the length of the two interstates was held March 6 at the Capitol.
Osage Beach gets new highway signs - New signs designating the Osage Beach Parkway as Business 54 were installed in late June and early July. The new signs were erected at the request of the City of Osage Beach, which changed the name of the parkway to Osage Beach Parkway/Business 54. The name change and signs are meant to help motorists more readily recognize the parkway as the Osage Beach business district.