COLUMBIA - Drivers travelling near the Columbia Mall on Stadium Boulevard on Monday should expect to see some changes when approaching I-70.
Columbia contractor Emery Sapp and Sons will start a $12.8 million project Monday that includes replacing the Stadium Boulevard and I-70 overpass. The first part of the project will involve pavement repairs to Bernadette Drive.
The project is scheduled to be finished by late 2014. It will create mid-Missouri's first diverging diamond at Stadium and I-70. What that means is, as drivers pull up to the traffic lights on Stadium Blvd., they will be redircted to the other side of the road, where they can either turn left onto I-70 West, or I-70 East if they are travelling southbound on stadium.
If drivers are not getting on the highway, they would continue straight before ending up on the right side of the road again.
The diverging diamond interchange should be completed by the Christmas shopping season and will allow free left turns. That means vehicles don't cross opposing traffic, which is meant to improve safety. MoDOT officials said the interchange can more efficiently handle large volumes of traffic, which roundabouts are not designed to handle.
In addition to the new interchange, the project will widen Stadium from just north of I-70 to south of Broadway. The work also includes widening Bernadette from Knipp Street to Beverly Drive.
The project is being funded through a cost-share agreement among MoDOT, Columbia and three transportation development districts.
Lanes of Stadium Boulevard will start to close on Tuesday night for the project. Drivers can expect to see construction signs and crews from the overpass south to Broadway over the course of the next 21 months.
Photo courtesy: Missouri Department of Transportation