New Interchange For Highway 63
The goal of this meeting was to obtain comments and suggestions from the public regarding the economic and social aspects of the project. They strongly encouraged citizens to express concerns, comments, and suggestions. They provided written statements and recorders for verbal comments, for citizens to leave statements for other members of the department. All comments will be taken into consideration, and made a part of the project file.
Officials say with new commercial development on Columbia's south side, a new interchange will alleviate heavy traffic expected to develop during the next few months.
The structure will connect the new catholic high school on 63's west side to the Discovery Ridge Research Park on 63's east side. Residents who live near the proposed site say even though traffic might increase in their neighborhood, the project makes sense in the long term.
Many citizens who came had lived or worked close to the area, and wanted to get more details and information of the plan.
"Given the way that the land has now been rezoned, I don't think to have this dense of development," said resident John Ikerd. "Commercial development in this area made sense, but that decision's already been made. But giving that you're going to have this level of dense commercial development in here, then you have to have roads to accommodate it."
After the meeting, the MoDOT study team planned to conduct further analysis to determine future actions that will best serve the transportation needs of the area.
The proposed interchange at Route 63 and Gans Road is to be located 1.35 miles south of the Route AC interchange. The purpose of the project is to improve the safety and traffic flow of the area due to increased traffic. The improvements include grading, drainage, paving, utilities, bridges and retaining walls. The interchange will also include improvements for bikers and walkers. It will have an eight-foot pedestrian walkway on the north side and a six-foot sidewalk on the south side. There will also be architectural enhancements that will include landscaping and lighting, and many other features that will make the area aesthetically pleasing.
MoDOT has received funding for this interchange through public and private entities. The estimated cost of the project is about $13.4 million.
Construction is expected to begin late in 2007, and be completed by late 2008. During construction, Route 63 will remain open with one lane of traffic in each direction being restricted at certain times.
For additional information, or to make comments or suggestions, contact the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Courtney Schroeder contributed to this article.