MoDot prepares for busy traffic weekend in Columbia
COLUMBIA - Labor Day weekend and the annual Mizzou football home opener mean plenty of traffic coming to Columbia this weekend.
MoDOT representatives said the department are ready for the weekend after extensive preparation. MoDOT has been monitoring traffic signals in Columbia to make sure they are working properly and will not cause excess backups.
"We prepare for Mizzou home football always," said MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester. "But with Labor Day weekend is always a big travel weekend for the state of Missouri, so as folks are coming in, we're expecting elevated traffic all weekend."
Silvester said MoDOT will shutdown many Columbia constructions projects to help ease traffic flow.
"We have those projects shut down, specifically construction work," Silvester said. "It helps to keep the traffic moving. A construction project can back up traffic on a normal given day, but when you have a big weekend like this and can ease those backups, it helps to suspend operations in those areas."
Silvester said both the Mizzou and MoDOT twitter accounts will be posting updated information throughout the day. Drivers can also access more information on the MoDOT Traveler's Information Map.
However, Silvester said the best thing to do is plan your trip ahead and allow extra time for driving.
"Be patient and plan your route. Plan to arrive early," Silvester said. "Plan your arrival and take your time. There is going to be traffic and it's good to get ahead of it."
MoDOT will also use the weekend to promote its "Buckle Up-Phone Down" program, a new initiative aimed at promoting safe driving habits. Silvester said the department hopes to use the initiative to discourage drivers from texting and driving.
"Distracted driving is one of our leading causes of accidents and fatal crashes," Silvester said. "When driving it's important to focus on the task at hand. Reading an average text message can take somewhere around five seconds and at 55 miles-per-hour that's basically traveling the length of a football field without looking up."