What is the Issue?
MoDOT’s Number 1 priority is always safety. We carefully monitor all 7,000 plus miles of roadway in the KC District, including this stretch of Highway 50.
From the time period of 2010-2014, there were 30 crashes at this intersection, one fatality. This does not include the most recent fatality.
MoDOT has added several safety features already to this intersection to warn approaching motorists of cross route traffic, including intersection warning signs, flashing yellow light and offset lefts (installed in 2011) to facilitate safer left turns.
MoDOT will consider the best options for the traffic, location and health of the community to improve safety. One of those options, which has already generated a lot of support, is the J-Turn.
What are J-Turns?
J-turns were used on Highway 50 and Route 58 two years ago, a similar intersection that had 28 crashes from 2010 to 2014. Since J-turns were installed in 2015, there have been zero crashes.
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.
In the J-turn design drivers turn right in the same direction of traffic, and merge safely into the left lane to prepare to make a left turn in the direction they intended to travel. This option uses an extended deceleration lane, basically adding a third lane on the highway to allow traffic making a left turn onto opposing lanes to safely pull off the mainline, out of the way of high speed traffic. In addition, acceleration lanes are constructed to allow traffic an opportunity to gain speed after turning onto the highway.
How do J-turns enhance safety?
J-turns have proven to be a safer than a traditional roadway intersection because they essentially eliminate right-angle crashes while lessening the severity of the other types of crashes. In fact, the installation of J-turns at similar intersections throughout Missouri and the nation have shown a substantial decrease in fatal and serious injury crashes. Basically, they eliminate the need for motorists to cross the high speed lanes of traffic to get to the opposing lanes.
Recent statistics about J-turns:
A recent study conducted by Missouri Department of Transportation focused on Missouri’s 19 J-Turn locations shows that implementing the J-turn design at intersections of high-speed rural expressways and minor roads results in fewer accidents than those that are controlled by two-way stops. Overall, the results of the analysis found:
- Total crashes have decreased by 25%;
- Fatal crashes have decreased by 88%;
- Serious injury crashes have decreased by 78%;
- Right-angle crashes have decreased by 88%.
For more information J-Turns, review http://www.modot.org/InterchangesandIntersections.htm#Jturn
For more information on crash statistics, review https://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/SAC/crash_data_960grid.html