MoDOT explains j-turn and roundabout construction in Ashland

ASHLAND, Mo. - On Thursday MoDOT tried to explain its plans for future road construction in Ashland.

A j-turn will be built just south of Peterson Lane.

MoDOT said j-turns are the answer to the safety problem at the intersections off Highway 63.

Vehicles speed down Highway 63.

Just south of Ashland at Liberty Lane, one car pulls up to make a left.

To do that, the driver crosses four lanes of traffic traveling at least 70 miles per hour.

At tonight's meeting, MoDOT showed that at divided highway intersections, there are 42 conflict points, 42 possible crashes waiting to happen.

"The conflict points are reduced, the number of accident possibilities are reduced, also the type of accident is reduced," said Michael Dusenberg, MoDOT engineer, of j-turns.

The possible number of crashes would drop to 14.

Drivers on the road agree there needs to be a change.

"I believe there is a safety issue and I'm pleased the state is trying to address that," said John Baker, Missouri driver.

And that is what MoDOT hopes they are doing.

Earlier today a reporter drove through the intersection the way it is now. Waiting at Liberty Lane, the reporter had to wait for the four lanes of traffic to be clear to be able to pull out.

"The one thing about using j-turns is that its safer, you're only facing one direction of traffic, so you only have to worry about one direction -- you wait for an opening," Dusenberg said.

Using the j-turn, it was a smoother transition pulling into the third lane, using the transition lane to get back into traffic.

"The data is there, and there have been lots of studies on j-turns and how they improve safety compared to a normal intersection, a median crossover in this case," said Dusenberg.

Dusenberg said the j-turn is a new tool MoDOT is utilizing to improve the safety of mid-Missouri roads.

Like any new solution, it will have it's learning curves, but in the end, MoDOT hopes it ultimately helps.

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