BOONE COUNTY - Construction workers delayed plans Monday to close Route H leading into the Columbia Regional Airport, waiting for better weather. The crews now plan to close the road on Wednesday.
Construction began last week to build the new Route H overpass over Highway 63 in Boone County that will run to the airport access road.
Once closed, all traffic will be detoured using Route AB and Rangeline Road. This detour will last for about two months.
Debbie Atkinson is a Job Corps Admissions officer and she drives her students to and from the airport multiple times every week as part of her job. She says that the intersection of Highway 63 and Route H is not safe intersection.
"The intersection is dangerous because the cars going on 63 don't stop, so you got to be really careful," said Atkinson."I know this is needed, what they are getting ready to do is really needed."
Project Manager Charles Sullivan said the new overpass will help with safety and that the heavy flow of traffic is one of the main problems.
"Traffic runs about 26,000 cars a day on 63 and so you have a lot of conflicts, a lot of points where traffic can meet," said Sullivan. "That is usually where some of our accidents occur. So for one, it will make it safer. Two, I think it will handle more traffic and increase the amount, and the flow, and make it easier. It will also help economic development for the area by making businesses be able to grow because they now have that safer entrance and exit into the airport and on the east side of 63."
This project also includes the construction of new southbound lanes from north of Route 163 to Route H as well as a new outer road system. The project is estimated to cost $9.8 million and is expected to be finished in October of 2012.