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Two crashes in one week highlight issues with tri-level overpass at Jefferson City


The Jefferson City tri-level overpass may be drawing the attention of the state after multiple accidents this week.

Within the last five years, more than 40 traffic accidents have been reported near the tri-level. 

This week the tri-level overpass saw two accidents on Highway 54 and on Highway 50. The first occurred Tuesday when a trailer carrying livestock had a weight shift and turned over onto its right side,  according to a release from the Jefferson City Police Department. The crash caused the southbound lanes of Highway 54 to be shut down for five hours as livestock were moved from the overturned trailer. No injuries were reported. 

The delays drew the ire of many travelers going through Jefferson City. 

“Of course people back up for five hours in traffic and can’t move there are a lot of complaints. Any accident anywhere around there causes a lot of complaints,” Ward 2 Jefferson City Councilman Mike Lester said. “I know even at our budget meeting this morning we talked about that briefly.” 

Then on Wednesday night, two vehicles collided after a blue Nissan Rogue traveling eastbound took the off-ramp to Highway 50, didn't stop at a stop sign and struck a blue Saturn carrying three people. The Saturn was on the middle level of the tri-level taking the ramp from Highway 50 East to Highway 54 East before being struck, according to the Jefferson City Police Department release. 

A passenger sitting in the back seat of the Saturn had to be transported to the hospital with a moderate head injury. This is not the first time the intersection has seen issues. 

“We live out east so I don’t mess with it unless we are leaving town or something like that,” Cole County Commissioner Sam Bushman said. “I’ve seen it back up for miles when they have had wrecks on the bridge." 

The bridge has been in Jefferson City since 1964. Ultimately it is up to the state to renovate the tri-level.  

 According to MoDOT’s website, a rehabilitation project which will include bridge deck repairs and new asphalt over the bridge ramp from eastbound Route 50 to Eastbound Route 54 is in the works.

The project is estimated to cost $285,000 construction is supposed to begin this year. During construction, the bridge would be closed for one month but alternate routes would be available according to the plan listed on the department's website.

“I’m sure it can be improved tremendously over what it is because that was built, what, 50 years ago? Forty years ago?" Lester said. "A lot of it is in discussion. Certainly, something needs to be done but it will take a good bit of resources to do it and it will take a good bit of time to get it done. Hopefully, the state will get it done."

A MoDOT representative was not immediately available for comment.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

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Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


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