US 63 at Interstate 70

Exit 128A at Columbia

A surprisingly complicated exit considering its location is the interchange of US 63 at I-70 in Columbia, Missouri.

At the original interchange, a four-lane US 63 had signalized intersections with the ramps off I-70. US 63 was multiplexed with I-70 west about three miles where it proceeded northward (going from south to north). This highway is now Missouri 763.

A new four-lane, limited access US 63 was built to connect the two previously disconnected portions of the highway. Local residents often call this highway the US 63 "bypass" around northeast Columbia. At I-70, the new highway required construction of a new overpass to the west of the original interchange. This new overpass over I-70 also goes over Hinkson Creek.

View of US 63/I-70 interchange

In the photo above, taken from the fifth floor of Columbia Regional Hospital, the new US 63 is labeled "US 63" while the previous US 63, now serving as the exit, is shown as the "US 63 Exit Overpass". The photo looks west-northwest.

There are no left-hand exits in this configuration. The new US 63 has overpasses over the southbound incoming ramp while the southbound exit ramp (to the north of this scene) curves around on an overpass over the main road.

The exit roads for US 63 join the main road 1/2 mile to the north and the south of I-70.

Route PP, at far right, is a state supplemental road that parallels I-70 on the north for a couple of miles. There is also a south service road which does not appear clearly in this photograph. The city has designated it I-70 Drive Southeast.

This general area is heavily commercialized, both with traveler-oriented businesses and with businesses serving the local community. A medical complex centered on Columbia Regional Hospital is nearby.

Since the photograph was taken in 1998, two suite hotels have opened along the east side of the connector road, very near the south-side offramp for US 63.

With the Missouri Department of Transportation's consideration of widening Interstate 70 to six or even eight lanes across Missouri, the possibility of reconstructing this interchange has come up. A proposal in early 2005 called for providing direct access between I-70 and US 63, along with an overpass to connect Business Loop 70 and Clark Lane (Route PP). However, funding for such projects appears to be many years away.

However, improvements have been made in the interchange to facilitate traffic flow and reduce backups. On Interstate 70 itself, the left-side westbound exit to Business Loop was re-aligned and made longer. This prevents traffic entering I-70 westbound from US 63 from cutting over two lanes of traffic to try to make the Business Loop exit.

And new signs and longer turn lanes (below) were built along the US 63 connector itself, as seen in this photograph taken looking north on the connector toward I-70 in September 2005. The bridge in the background is the main route of US 63 as it crosses over I-70.

2005 photo of US 63 connector at Interstate 70
Mark Roberts
Oakland, California
E-mail: Please see the Contact Information page.
Photographs taken by Mark Roberts, copyright 1998, 2005, Mark Roberts, all rights reserved. Text copyright 1998, 2003, 2005, Mark Roberts, all rights reserved.
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