Highway 13 and Route O traffic lights being replaced with J turns


UPDATE: The change has been delayed to Monday, October 21 due to the wet conditions.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Starting tomorrow the traffic lights at the intersection of Highway 13 and Route O will be shut down and replaced with J turns.

After the traffic lights are taken out people on Route O will no longer be able to turn left onto Highway 13.

MoDOT says it is the right thing to do for the overall safety of everyone.

“The problem we have on high-speed expressways like that, drivers don’t really expect a traffic signal, and so the crashes tend to be high speed and high severity,” Kevin Marti said, the resident engineer of MoDOT.

Marti says they have seen many accidents in that intersection and J turns are expected to reduce those numbers.

“J-turns tend to reduce crashes, about 35% over a typical intersection,” Marti said. “Serious injury crashes are reduced by 86% and minor injury crashes around 50%.”

Neighbors around the area, such as Patricia Hoffman, disagree.

“Just going to make it difficult for us,” Hoffman said. “We feel like it’s going to be worse. There’s going to be more accidents.”

Marti says residents on Route O will still be able to get on Highway 13 but neighbors say it’s inconvenient.

“All traffic entering from Route O will make a right turn,” Marti said. “If they were wanting to make a left turn onto 13, they’ll make a right turn, they’ll go about 2,000 ft, where they’ll have an opportunity to make a U-turn.”

Hoffman hoped MoDOT would have considered other approaches first.

“We understand that they’re trying to do something different, we don’t understand why they didn’t just make the light stay red longer,” Hoffman said. “Before turning it green, why didn’t they try something like that before they go and take the light out?”

Traffic lights are scheduled to be taken down on Oct. 17. after the morning rush hour.

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