MoDOT adding seven J-turns on Highway 13 between Clinton and Springfield

Published: Jun. 14, 2019 at 9:34 PM CDT
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If you drive Highway 13 north of Springfield you will soon start seeing some construction. The Missouri Department of Transportation is adding seven new J-turn intersections this summer, and improving three others.

The J-turn is an alternative to traditional roadway intersections on a four-lane highway. Instead of motorists crossing fast-moving lanes of traffic to get to the opposing lanes, drivers at a J-turn intersection turn right in the same direction of traffic, merge into the left lane, and then make a u-turn in the direction they intend to travel. Although drivers will have to travel slightly further to get where they want to go, using J-turns can take the same or less time than trying to wait for a safe and appropriate gap to cross traffic.

The northern most intersection is in Clinton and the southern most intersection is the traffic light at Highway 13 and Highway O.

Two other intersections are at east Highway 215 and west 215 near Brighton.

"You know sometimes you have to wait a little while, but it is okay, there are not problems." said Todd Grant, who lives in Morrisville and makes a left turn onto Highway 13 every day.

"I have seen a lot of near misses in the last one they put in down by Smith's," he added. "I saw one today in Bolivar, somebody came out of there and cut somebody off going north, it is a mess. *

He is not a fan of turning the intersections in to J-turns.

"There are a lot of stock trailers and people hauling hay and trying to get a trailer across traffic, I think it is going to be a mess." Grant said.

But despite some folks being upset by the J-turn intersection plans, MoDOT says it is making them safer.

ANDY MUELLER "We can cut the crash rate by about 1/3, and we can reduce injury crashes by about half, and we can reduce fatalities on that type of roadway by over 80 percent." said Andy Mueller, an assistant district engineer with MoDOT's southwest district.

He says the choice to add J-turns comes down to money.

"We had enough funding to do either one interchange on 13 or 10 intersection improvements, seven of those being J-turns." Mueller explained.

He is well aware of people upset over the J-turn decision.

"I think it should just be left alone." Grant added.

"But it is our responsibility to save people's lives on the MoDOT highway system." Mueller said.

Construction on the intersections of Highway 13 and Highway 215 east and west will begin on Sunday, expect some slowdowns.

The traffic signal at Highway 13 and Highway O will most likely be the last intersection crews work on, we will update this story when we get closer to the construction date. All of the intersections should be finished by November.

To learn more about J-turns Click