J-turns aim to cut down crashes

J-turns on Highway 63 just south of Ashland opened Monday.

A new J-turn on Highway 63 just south of Ashland opened Monday, with the goal of cutting down on serious crashes on the roadway.

"I think as long as people use it properly, it'll make it safer," Jefferson City resident Tim Hermann said.

The Missouri Department of Transportation says J-turns reduce the number of opportunities for car crashes in what's known as "points of conflict." Those points are areas where a car has to cross the road in front of several other vehicles.

"It eliminates a lot of what you call the 'T-bone accidents', were you have to cross in front," MoDOT Resident Engineer Charles Sullivan said.

"[Now,] they just have to merge into a deceleration lane, make your J-turn, and then accelerate and make a smooth merge into the next lane of traffic."

Many mid-Missourians Monday agreed.

"There were a lot of accidents and fatalities on those exits and I think that was one of the big reasons people wanted these J-turns in is to save lives," Ashland resident Korbin Stone said.

"So if it works...they did a good job."

"Too many young kids have lost their lives crossing the roads like that down there," Ashland resident Jeff Ward said.

"They can merge off and traffic won't have to slam on their breaks...because some people don't put their turn signal on," Jefferson City resident Tim Edwards said.

Along with the J-turns, new acceleration and deceleration lanes around Liberty Lane also opened Monday.

But the existing crossovers at Liberty and Peterson/Forsee are now closed, which has some people unhappy.

"It's gonna be less convenient for the people that work around here. There's just gonna be a lot more traffic and holdups," Ashland resident Crystal Childers said.

Sullivan cautions drivers to be aware of the new traffic flow and use their blinkers when merging onto or exiting the highway.