Local routes to experience changes, delays in Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY - Beginning Thursday, drivers will be experincing delays on U.S. Routes 50/63 due to the Lafayette Interchange Project. 

"The intent of this project is to improve the traffic commute along 50/63 there on the eastside of Jefferson City," said MoDOT Central District Construction and Matierals Engineer Patty Lemongelli.

While this project will be under construction until June of 2016, the long run goal will improve transportation to other parts of town. 

"It is not only better for the community and economic development, but it also is going to increase safety as well because we are going to be reconstructing the east and westbound lanes of 50/63 and building a new bridge there on Lafayette," she said. 

Two lanes will be open during construction, said MoDOT, but traffic will still move a little slower than normal.

Another main goal of the project is to increase visibility on westbound 50/63. 

"We will be imporving the sight distance. Right now as drivers are approaching the Monroe St. intersection, there's not a lot of visibility so we will actually be lowering the grade in that area," she said. 

Eastbound 50/63 could see the route reduced to one lane during the restriping of lanes. Lanes will be reduced from 12 feet to 11 feet. This could create a little driver discomfort, said Lemongelli. 

The Clark Avenue westbound onramp on 50/63 will remain closed during construction. On Thursday, the westbound 50/63 will open back up to two lanes, however, traffic will be diverted off the new Lafayette exit ramp and back onto 50/63. 

One local business sees this construction as a benefit in the long run.

"In the long run we're hopeful that as people come off of that exit ramp and come through the downtown area that they'll be exposed to our store when maybe they wouldn't have been in the past," said President and owner of Whaley's Pharmacy Stacy Welling.

The project will be about $20.3 million. This was not only funded by MoDOT, but also by Jefferson City and Cole County. 

For more information about traffic conditions, please visit modot.com.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the Clark Avenue westbound onramp will be closed.]