ASHLAND, Mo. - After at least three serious crashes along Highway 63 near Ashland in the last seven years, MODOT has began one of many projects along the highway to make traveling safer.
MODOT engineer Mike Schupp said it's dangerous to try to turn onto the highway or cross over the highway from Forsee Road beginning from a complete stop. And that's exactly what happened to 19-year-old Briana Forrest as she was trying to cross Highway 63 Thursday morning when she was killed.
"If you're wanting to go from one side to the other, basically, you're looking at two lanes coming north or south and then the opposite two lanes," Schupp said. "So you're having to make a lot of decisions on your movement in a very short amount of time."
Neighbors along Forsee Road told ABC 17 News they've had concerns about the intersection for a long time and they're glad MODOT is getting to work.
Schupp said J-turns are a cost effective way to handle intersections like Forsee Road and Highway 63.
"The J-turns are a great tool to basically eliminate these grade crossovers, where we don't have the funds to put in a full blown intersection at every location where we have these crossovers," Schupp said.
Not only are they cost effective, but MODOT said they're safer.
"The traffic movement is definitely safer because you're merging into traffic and getting up to speed," Schupp said. "It eliminates that severe right angle collision that can happen at these crossovers, which is what we saw this morning."
According to a study by the University of Missouri on intersections where J-turns have been put in, accidents with disabling injuries dropped by 86 percent and the total number of crashes dropped 35 percent.