Drivers travel along a section of U.S. Route 63 in Missouri, which is mostly a two lane highway through the state. (Photo courtesy: Shutterstock)

MISSOURI (KSNF/KODE) — A U.S. highway that runs north-south, and covers the entire state of Missouri (from Iowa to Arkansas), remains in the top spot as “Missouri’s most dangerous highway.” A study conducted in 2019 by the fleet management company, Geotab, named “Missouri’s U.S. 63 Highway” (a.k.a. U.S. Route 63 in Missouri) as the “most dangerous road in the state.”

The highway, which passes through several Missouri cities, such as Kirksville, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Rolla, reportedly has the highest rate of deadly crashes — averaging 15 fatal crashes per year — more than any other highway in the Show-Me State. The data found in the 2019 study published by Geotab, comes from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. It shows that the highest number of fatal highway crashes in the state happens along the 338 mile stretch of Missouri’s U.S. Route 63.

More than three years after Geotab published their study, new data regarding Missouri’s most dangerous (and deadly) highway, is released by Car Insurance Comparison — an online source for information and statistics on a variety of auto-related topics. According to their data, the number of traffic fatalities that occur each year along U.S. Route 63 in Missouri, is increasing. The new average: 18 deaths per year resulting from vehicle crashes along that particular highway, which spans 13 Missouri counties, is made up of rural farmland and dotted by small towns and communities. Regardless, the highway that cuts through them all, consists of plenty of traffic.

This map of Missouri highlights (in yellow) U.S. Route 63 which cuts through the middle of the Show-Me State, stretching 338 miles between the state lines of Iowa and Arkansas.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is aware of the many problems that plague Missouri’s U.S. Route 63. MoDOT has completed several projects to make the road safer, and many more are either in the works or are in the planning stages.

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According to a U.S. Route 63 Corridor Study conducted by MoDOT, there are several reasons why this particular highway is the most dangerous in Missouri. Some of those reasons include the following:

  • Road maintenance along Missouri’s U.S. Route 63 is lacking in many areas due to budget constraints.
  • The volume of traffic along U.S. Route 63 in MO continues to increase.
  • There’s a lack of intersections and safe places for vehicles to enter and exit the highway.
  • The few side shoulders that exist along the highway are lacking in width (most are only four feet wide and gravel covered).
  • A majority of the highway consists of only two narrow lanes.
  • Sharp curves and hilly terrain make passing difficult.
  • Opportunities for motorists to pass slower vehicles is limited.
(Image courtesy: Shutterstock)

Passing maneuvers on Missouri U.S. Route 63 are often performed where there is inadequate sight distance, resulting in crashes. A large number of those crashes are head-on collisions. In fact, many of the deadly accidents along the highway occur when drivers attempt to pass other slower drivers — only to quickly find themselves head-to-head with an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane.

The most dangerous section of U.S. Route 63 in Missouri, MoDOT claims, is along a 47-mile stretch of highway that’s located in Osage, Maries, and Phelps Counties. They estimate that transforming MO U.S. Route 63 into a highway that’s considered to be one of the safest in the state, would cost around $300 million — perhaps even more.