Traffic backs up on Highway 63

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BOONE COUNTY - Drivers headed south on Highway 63 may experience a delay traveling toward Jefferson City when traffic merges into one lane. The speed limit heading into the construction is 70 mph, but once drivers reach the construction, it drops to 60 mph.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said, "traffic modeling indicates that during peak travel times, delays will routinely reach 30 minutes or more, with times where backups could be closer to two hours."

The construction started on May 1 for repairs underneath the southbound bridge. MoDOT said it expects the highway to reopen to two lanes in early June and the entire project to be completed in July.

Raylene Douglas commutes on 63 to get to work. She said the construction has added about 10 minutes to her drive, but says it is not as bad as she thought it would be.

Thomas Shiverdecker lives in Jefferson City and works near the Columbia Mall, he said he gets off at 4 and would usually be home by 4:20. Now, he said he gets home closer to 5.

KOMU 8 News noticed drivers are taking the service road, Tom Bass Road, next to 63 to try and avoid traffic. We went to the road with a radar gun to track drivers' speeds. Many drivers were exceeding the speed limit of 45.

MoDOT officials said the traffic impact could be much worse.

"Fortunately, the needed repairs can be completed without totally closing the bridge and rerouting traffic,” said MoDOT Resident Engineer Aaron Peck. “This allows us to limit the impact to southbound traffic only, as opposed to shifting all traffic to the northbound bridge. We hope these repairs will keep the structure in service for many years to come.”