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U.S. 54 Corridor, Cole County -- What is a J-Turn?

What is a J-Turn?


MoDOT has opened its first j-turn intersection at Route E and U.S. 54 in Cole County, as part of a larger project to improve safety and traffic flow at 12 intersections along approximately 8.5 miles of U.S. 54 between Route CC and Old Bass Road.  The intersection improvements at Route E opened to traffic on Oct. 7, 2011.

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 left 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.

J-Turn to Open at U.S. 54 and Route E in Cole County (News Release, Oct. 5, 2011)

How do you drive a J-Turn?


What does the new Route E intersection look like?

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(Click to enlarge image)

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(Click to enlarge image)

Changes in this area include:

  • acceleration lanes, which allow vehicles to merge into traffic similar to interchange ramp
  • offset left turn lanes, which offer better visibility of oncoming traffic and reduce the amount of blocked sight distance for entering vehicles
  • J-turn at Route E – All traffic on Route E headed toward U.S. 54 must turn right, using an acceleration lane and then use a j-turn to turn left.
  • Traffic on Pleasant Hill Road is right turn in, right turn out only.
  • Improvements to West Brazito Road include an offset left turn lane, a median acceleration lane, and a right turn acceleration lane.

What are Conflict Points?

A "conflict" is the point were two vehicle paths cross, which means it the point where there's a potential for a crash.

Crossing conflicts (the pink dots below) tend to result in serious accidents.

  • On this section of U.S. 54, 8 of the 12 fatal crashes in 2004-2009 and all three fatal crashes in 2010 were crossing conflicts
  • 13 of the 23 disabling injuries in 2004-2009 were crossing conflicts.

A typical highway intersection, like many on U.S. 54, have 24 crossing conflicts, which are all very close together. Safety improves when you can reduce the number of conflicts and/or spread them out.

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At Route E and Pleasant Hill Road, the j-turn reduces conflict points from 42 to 14. Crossing conflicts drop from 24 to two.

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Cole County U.S. 54 Corridor Improvements Main Page

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