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University of Missouri graduation brings traffic concerns

On Friday, tens of thousands of people made their way into Columbia for graduation weekend.

The University of Missouri ceremonies kicked off Friday afternoon and run through Sunday.

Both MoDOT and the city expect traffic delays, but especially on Highway 63.

The weekend construction has the northbound lanes on 63 between Grindstone and Stadium down to one lane.

Hotels, restaurants and bars are prepared for the more than 10,000 visitors expected in Columbia this weekend.

“Everyone should be excited because there are visitors here and they are going to be spending money that flows into our economy,” said Megan McConachie with the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Restaurants are anticipating long lines out the door throughout the entire weekend.

“A lot of their staff are college students so they have to plan around that, bring in extra staffing,” said McConachie.

More than 6,000 hotel rooms are booked in town this weekend.

The prices are much higher than usual.

“Tonight our rates are $196, usually our rates our $109,” said Chris Henson with the Holiday Inn.

Some people even booked their hotels years in advance.

However, for those who may have procrastinated and forgot to get a room, they are finding themselves staying in hotels out of town.

“People do go to the outskirts like Kingdom City, Boonville and Jefferson City,” said McConachie.

MoDOT is warning those traveling from Jefferson City to campus this weekend should expect some delays.

“We will have maintenance personnel available if there are any delays or any problems we are going to be there,” said Charles Sullivan with the Missouri Department of Transportation.

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