MoDOT Plans to Add More J-Turns Along Highway 63

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COLUMBIA - MoDOT spoke at the City of Clark's City Council meeting Wednesday evening to give an update on its J-turn project.

MoDOT is working to put a J-turn at the intersection of Route B and Route P. Some officials in Clark are not happy about the changes. Alderman Randy Neesen told KOMU 8 News the J-turn is a bad idea and that the city does not need it or want it.

MoDOT Macon area engineer, Brian Haeffner, will speak at the city council meeting to give updates on the project that will put a J-turn not only in Clark, but in Cairo and Atlanta. The J-turn in Cairo will be at Route Z and Route K. The J-turn in Atlanta will be on Route M.

"This meeting will give a heads up to where we are in the project," Haeffner said. "We will have a public meeting at the end of September for exactly what we're doing and why, where the public can give their input."

A date has not yet been set for the public hearing.

On Thursday evening in Ashland, MoDOT is hosting a public hearing from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at Southern Boone Middle School to speak about implementing a J-turn at the intersection at Liberty and Peterson Lanes to improve safety.

MoDOT Project Manager Mike Dusenberg is working on the Ashland project. He said those in Ashland are highly receptive of adding the J-turn.

J-turns are safer from your typical at-grade crossing, or two-way stop, because they lessen the number of conflict points, Dusenberg said. A conflict point is a point where two cars have the potential of meeting.

"A typical at-grade crossing, like we have at Liberty and Peterson, can result in as many as 42 conflict points," he said. "And 24 of those conflict points can result in serious or fatal accidents." 

Dusenberg said J-turns reduce the number of conflict points from 42 to about 14.

"Those conflict-points are typically where traffic is trying to merge," he said. "Accidents that typically occur are side-swipe accidents or fender-bender-type accidents."

MoDOT is proposing to start working on the Ashland J-turn in the spring.

MU Associate Civil Engineering professor Praveen Edara launched a survey evaluating J-turns late last month. MoDOT was also part of this survey.

"The survey is part of a broad research project we were doing on evaluating the safety and effectiveness of J-turns in Missouri," Edara said.

Questions focused on conflict points, like time-to-collision, as well as crash data from before and after J-turn implementation at select intersections. They also posed questions about the learning curve and adaptiveness for drivers.

Two intersections with J-turns studied were at Route M in Jefferson County and along Highway 13 in Osceola.

"They both showed a significant drop in crashes. Total crashes went down 50 percent," Edara said. "Crossing conflict, any angle crashes, severe crashes, they all were totally eliminated."

The J-turn survey closed several days ago. Edara said results will be released to the public later this year.