MoDOT: J-turn safety measure on Highway 61 no longer in works -

MoDOT: J-turn safety measure on Highway 61 no longer in works

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Highway 61 (Credit: KMOV) Highway 61 (Credit: KMOV)

LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. ( -- Seven years ago, Eric Carmack opened up his car dealership in Lincoln County right along Highway 61.

He's seen the traffic outside his front door grow year after year.

“Oh yeah it's insane. I've watched the traffic triple since I’ve been out here seven years,” he said. “It's hard to get out of here pull across [the intersection]. Not safe”

Some of the traffic troubles along 61 have been growing pains for a county that's one of the fastest growing in Missouri.

MoDOT had planned a $1.1 million J-turn just north of Troy, at the intersection of 61 and routes E and B.

The J-turn eliminates the need for drivers to cross over lanes of traffic and risk being broadsided by oncoming cars.

There are currently 19 J-turns around the state, and MoDOT says they have been successful at increasing safety.

“They've shown a 90 percent reduction in fatalities and disabling injuries in those 19 locations,” said MoDOT official Paula Gough.

But some locals opposed the plan, citing additional travel time and inconvenience. Instead, some were calling for a full interchange at the location. However that would come with a price tag between $8 million and $10 million.

“Where we are with safety funds, we have number of locations along 61, 36, 63 where people have asked for interchanges,” Gough said. “We are not in a good position to build an interchange without some local funding source contributing to that interchange.”

While the J-turn won't be going in at the E and B intersection, several miles south on the outskirts of Wentzville, MoDOT says plans are still moving ahead for a new interchange at 61 and Route P.

But overall funding problems could delay other safety changes. In the meantime, law enforcement will continue to crack down on speeders and distracted drivers.

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