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Traffic signals for busy intersection
PERRYVILLE -- Motorists won't have to depend on luck and prayers to get through the interchange at Interstate 55 and Highway 51 without a fender bender after traffic lights are installed there later this year.
Motorists, police, city officials and state highway engineers say it's particularly hard to make left turns off the northbound and southbound exit ramps onto Highway 51.
Traffic has increased noticeably since the Wal-Mart store opened in August 1998, motorists and officials said.
There have been 15 accidents and a lot of near misses at the interchange in the past two years, said Eugene Besand, Perryville's police chief.
Several motels, a large convenience store and an expanded car dealership also are west of the interchange.
More than 14,000 vehicles a day travel the stretch of Highway 51 from Route T in Perryville to the I-55 interchange, MoDOT statistics show.
Traffic only will get worse when a new McDonald's restaurant and a truck stop open later this year, Besand said.
The state is administering the project and will maintain the signals once they are erected. But the city is using its share of federal road money to pay the $123,000 cost of installation.