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      Construction begins at dangerous highway intersection

      The relocation of utilities is the first sign of what's to come. Modot will eliminate a grade-level crossover intersection now regulated only by flashing lights with an interchange and roundabouts. It's a big step toward safety for the fourteen hundred cars that pass through the Highway 63 intersection every day.

      "It's not just a danger to people that live in the area or come from the airport and cross, said Sen. Kurt Shaefer (R) of Columbia. It's a danger to everyone going north and south."

      The project also involves new southbound lanes from route 163 south to the new interchange. The access to 63 near this fuel terminal will be eliminated. The outer road will be extended behind the tanks to the county's maintenance facility.

      "Rather than have Modot put of jersey barriers in front of Williams Pipeline, which we don't believe is a safe option, Boone County Commissioner Karen Miller said. Modot didn't think it was a safe option."

      The project was a late add to Modot's five-year construction program.

      "Maybe people don't realize what happened, said Rep. Chris Kelly (D) of Columbia. The highway commission was so efficient with some of its other projects that it saved the ten million dollars that were necessary for this project."

      And like the Highway 179 and Lafayette street interchanges in Jefferson City, this job got into the room just before the doors closed. With amendment 3 money gone and federal highway funds in limbo, Modot won't be adding much new construction.