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More than 50 people involved in injury crashes along Highway 63 in the last year


In the past year, more than 50 people have been involved in injury crashes along Highway 63 in Boone and Cole counties, including a crash that claimed a woman's life Tuesday.

An ABC 17 crew drove south on Highway 63 from Moberly to Columbia on Wednesday afternoon. During that relatively short drive, over 15 points were counted in the road that provide direct access to the highway for drivers at a complete stop.

Those points include driveways on personal property, J-turns and full 90 degree intersections.

During the drive, many drivers could be seen at a complete stop between the north and southbound lanes of Highway 63, either waiting to enter the lanes or cross into a west or eastbound road.

"Vehicles are traveling 65-70 miles per hour," Boone County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Gale Blomenkamp said in an interview at the scene of the crash Tuesday. "It doesn't take long for drivers to cover lots of ground."

Janet Thompson, the Boone County District 2 Commissioner said that Missouri Department of Transportation annually looks at Highway 63 to find improvements that could be made.

"It's always on their list," Thompson said. "J-turns have been put in as a way to reduce accidents."

A J-turn enables drivers to switch from one direction of travel to another by making a "U turn". There is a designated lane for drivers using the J-turns to get back up to highway speed before merging back into traffic.

However, many places along Highway 63 are 90-degree intersections like Blomenkamp referenced.

These look like any other intersection where oncoming traffic doesn't stop. However, cars and trucks are traveling at high speeds.

"J-turns that have been put in some places have been able to alleviate some places where there have been sometimes fatalities," Thompson said.

Blomenkamp said J-turns work.

"It could be very dangerous hence why they've put in so many J-turns on highway 63 to avoid situations like this," Blomenkamp said. "Those J-turns work, they may not be very convenient, but they do work."

Three people were involved in the crash Tuesday, two of whom were taken to a hospital for treatment of moderate to severe injuries after the crash at highways 63 and 124.

Joan Broxton, of Columbia, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a Missouri State Highway Patrol crash report after trying to cross the highway. Her body was taken to the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The intersection where the crash occurred was considered by Blomenkamp to be a 90-degree intersection. Blomenkamp said firefighters found the two vehicles in the median with heavy damage when they arrived. He also said the intersection is an area where crashes happen often.

Highway 63 has high speed limits and several intersections where other roads meet the divided span.

According to the MSHP, this is Troop F's third traffic death in April, and the 14th so far this year.

Article Topic Follows: Transportation

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Ethan Heinz


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