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      Hwy. 63 roadwork continues; motorists take heed

      Major road work on U.S. Highway 63 in southern Boone County will improve safety in the long run but slow traffic for the next few months.

      Work begins Tuesday on a major highway 63 improvement project that planners say will reduce accidents in the long run but will likely increase commute times for the next few months.

      According to MoDot, work will commence at the intersection of route 63 and Hinton Road/Calvert Hill Road in Boone County on work that includes offset left-turn lanes for northbound and southbound traffic, an offset right-turn lane for southbound traffic, acceleration and deceleration lanes, and J-turns.

      Lane closures will occur in both directions during the 65-day project, but one lane of traffic in both directions will remain open throughout.

      The project has a cost of $1.4 million; APAC Missouri is the primary contractor.

      According to MoDot, there have been 53 crashes over the past 10 years at the intersection. The improvements are expected to improve safety by reducing the number of possible points where vehicles can collide.

      Offset turn lanes are those that are separated and aligned so that drivers have better visibility to see oncoming traffic before making a turn.

      J-turns are alternatives to typical intersections on four-lane highways; instead of motorists crossing fast-moving lanes of traffic to get to the opposing lanes, drivers turn right in the same direction of traffic, merge into the left lane, then make a left turn in the direction they intend to travel.

      A University of Missouri-Columbia study of five intersections in Missouri where J-turns have been installed shows fatal crashes were eliminated and injury crashes were cut in half.