May 28, 2015
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MoDOT Warns Motorists to Watch Out for Summer Work Zones
Nine Work Zones on I-70 to Repair Pavements and Bridges
To help ensure summer travels are as carefree as possible, MoDOT has developed a list of significant work zones to be on the lookout for this summer. Although the state construction budget is less than half of what it was five years ago, drivers will still encounter nine separate work zones on Interstate 70 for resurfacing and bridge repairs across the state. Lane restrictions are also expected on several other interstates including I-29, I-44, I-270 and I-55. The majority of the construction work is for pavement and bridge repairs.



Motorists should pay attention to all signing, follow the posted speed limits, and merge every other car where lanes are closed. Always wear safety belts and be alert for slowed traffic, narrowed lanes or a reduced number of lanes. Many of these work zones may cause congestion and traffic delays especially during peak travel times.

"Driver inattention was the second highest cause of work zone crashes in 2014. Driving too closely was number one," said Roberta Broeker, MoDOT's interim director. "The average text takes five seconds to read. Traveling at 55 mph, you will travel more than the length of a football field-blindfolded. If you aren't paying attention to the road, you will come up on a closed lane very quickly."

The list provides information on how the major interstate work zones will affect travel and for how long. Information on all MoDOT work zones statewide is available up to a week in advance on the department's Traveler Information Map located at www.modot.org. The map is available as a free app available for iPhone and Android phones. Motorists can also call MoDOT's 24/7 customer service toll free at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636).

Click here to see the full list - Summer Work Zones.
Rate Our Work Zones
MoDOT is looking for the public's opinion on a variety of work zone details - including clear and understandable signing, channelizers and barrels providing proper guidance, and whether or not the work zone caused motorists any delays.



The department uses those survey results to evaluate work zones, look for ways to improve them and meet customer expectations.

All motorists traveling through a work zone are encouraged to participate in the online survey - Rate Our Work Zones - not while driving though!
Social Media
Safer Roadways
Digital Highway Boards Used to Share Safety Messages - Vote Online for Your Favorite
"Unbuckled? Seriously." "Put Down Your Phone and Drive." "Changing Lanes? Show Me Your Blinker." These messages are just some of the new safety messages the Missouri Department of Transportation has been displaying on its dynamic message signs for the past year. Drivers on Missouri's interstates and major highways pass by one of these 250 digital signs each day. Now, MoDOT has compiled its top 16 messages and is asking Missourians to vote for their favorite in an online survey at http://modot.org/safety/DynamicMessageSigns.htm.



"The primary purpose of the dynamic message signs is to convey critical information to motorists about lane closures or complete road closures," said MoDOT Traffic Management and Operations Engineer Jon Nelson. "However, when the roads are clear of incidents, we use the signs to convey safety messages with a catchy twist to get motorists' attention."

In Spring 2014, the messaging was overhauled to strategically display messages related to a certain theme suited for a particular month or time of year. For example, May is motorcycle awareness month and youth alcohol enforcement month. Safety messages are focused on these topics. As motorists drive a stretch of interstate, they will see messages related to one of these themes. The message themes change each month.

"MoDOT also posts the messages on its Facebook page on Mondays, and the response has been tremendously positive," said Nelson. "Our goal is to find ways to get the safety message to drivers so people will stop, think and make the right safety choice before they drive without a seatbelt or pick up their phone and text while they drive."

Missourians are also invited to submit their ideas for new messages. The space on the sign is limited to three lines with 16 spaces on each line. Email message topics and ideas to: MoMessageBoards@modot.mo.gov.

Voting for the favorite message will be available online until June 20. The winner and top two runner-up messages by voting will be announced in early July. Online voting can be found at Vote for Your Favorite
May is Move Over and Slow Down Awareness Month
In 2012, Governor Jay Nixon and the Missouri General Assembly added MoDOT vehicles to the "Move Over" law, which protects law enforcement and emergency response vehicles parked on the side of the road. This law requires motorists to slow down or change lanes when approaching these vehicles. Since 2012, the law includes MoDOT vehicles parked with amber and white lights flashing.

"The law is simple: If you see flashing lights on the side of the road, move over to give workers and emergency personnel plenty of room to stay safe,"said MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. "If you can't move over on a crowded highway, you should slow down as you pass them. We want you and our workers to make it home safe every day."
Off The Road News
MoDOT Begins Mowing Season - Motorists Asked to Slow Down, Pass Crews Carefully
Pushing the lawn mower back and forth across the yard is a springtime necessity, a pleasure for some and a chore for others. At MoDOT, mowing serves a whole other purpose: safety.

Before the end of June, there is a good chance you will see MoDOT crews out mowing on tractor mowers so motorists have a clear, safe line of sight as they cruise along state highways.

"Mowing the roadside increases visibility for motorists, which makes state highways safer," said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright. "While our crews are out there, we ask motorists to pay attention, slow down when approaching mowing crews, and pass carefully and safely."

Major and minor routes will be mowed at least three times through the end of October. Along with the mowing, crews selectively use herbicides to stunt grass growth as well as to control brush and stop the spread of noxious weeds. Wildflowers are an added benefit of not mowing fence-to-fence and careful herbicide usage.

On rural two-lane roads, crews may use a protective "follow" truck to alert motorists they are approaching slow-moving mowers. Drivers are advised to use the following tips to safely pass mowers:
  • Be alert for trucks and tractors with lights flashing and moving slowly, 2 to 5 mph.
  • Slow down and focus on the road ahead of you. Avoid talking and texting on a cell phone or other distractions.
  • Be prepared to stop or drive very slowly behind a "follow" truck, especially approaching a hill or curve on a two-lane road.
  • Obey the no passing zone stripes and only pass when you can see far enough past the "follow" truck to avoid meeting oncoming traffic. 
Between mowing cycles, report grass and weeds blocking visibility at intersections along state roads to MoDOT. Contact MoDOT's 24/7 Customer Service Center at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or fill out an online form at www.modot.org and click on Report A Road Concern.
Plan Ahead

Know Before You Go!

This time of year is a busy travel season for Missourians. Make sure you have all the information you need before heading out the door for summer travel. MoDOT's website and mobile apps offer motorists several options for keeping up to date on what's happening on Missouri roadways.

Traveler Information Map App
Users of iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices who update the app will have access to statewide traffic flow information in addition to incidents, closures, work zones, message boards and weather-related road conditions:

iPhone App - Android App.

The Traveler Information Map can also be found on MoDOT's website modot.org.

Text Alerts / Email Notifications
With MoDOT's E-update System you can receive email notifications on road work by county, by specific projects or statewide. You can also sign up for text alerts or email notifications for incidents and emergency closings (by county). It's easy to subscribe and you can change or cancel your subscription anytime E-update.


Real Time Traffic
Real time traffic is available for these urban areas:
St. Louis - http://www.gatewayguide.com/
Kansas City - http://www.kcscout.net/
Springfield - http://www.ozarkstraffic.info/index.html


 Customers can always call MoDOT's customer service centers 24/7 for road conditions and other information - 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636).

Have you Seen This?
View From the Chair is a personal newsletter prepared by the Chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, Stephen R. Miller. 

"Houston, we have a problem." Those historic words uttered by Astronaut Jim Lovell in 1970 following a catastrophic event that disabled the Apollo 13 spacecraft, seemingly stranding it in space, have proven to be one of the great understatements of all time. Well, today in Missouri, we too have a problem: At the current time we have no way to save our transportation system and no plan to avoid  the loss of hundreds of millions of Missouri federal tax dollars.

The engineers at NASA's Mission Control had to huddle together to improvise with the hope of finding some way - any way - to bring the crew home safely and rescue America's space program. In a similar manner, the Commission has asked MoDOT senior management to explore options for Missouri's transportation system. The odds are not good - but we have no choice but to try.

NASA faced a complex problem with a very uncertain outcome. It not only had to find a way to restore life support to the command module in a short period of time, it had to then find a way to bring the craft and crew safely home. This involved completely rethinking - and ultimately reconfiguring - the lunar lander and the command module. We all know how this story ended: American ingenuity and technology prevailed. From one perspective, the Apollo 13 mission ended in failure, but the successful effort of returning the astronauts alive inspired the nation and the United States went on to four more successful manned landings on the moon.

Missouri faces its own crisis. Over the last several months, we have focused attention on the lack of funding that has caused the Commission to call for implementation of Missouri's 325 System which will result in the reduction of service on 26,000 miles of highway and 6,300 bridges. We have also sounded the alarm that $167 million dollars of Missouri federal tax dollars is at risk in 2017, and $400 million per year thereafter. A six-cent increase in Missouri's fuel tax would have addressed this problem, but the General Assembly failed to even bring to a vote legislation that would have provided the first third.

Read full article - View from the Chair.
TRIP Report on Rural Road Conditions
According to a new report issued on Tuesday by TRIP, America's rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies. The report evaluates the safety and condition of the nation's rural roads and bridges and ranks states on a variety of factors such as bridge deficiency, pavement conditions and fatalities.

A news release issued by TRIP stated, "America's rural transportation system is in need of repairs and modernization to support economic growth in the nation's Heartland, which is a critical source of energy, food and fiber and home to an aging and increasingly diverse population that is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system."

TRIP is a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, DC.

The full release and report can be found on TRIP's website - TRIP Rural Road Report.
Road Deaths in Missouri
  
Missouri Dept. of Transportation | (888) 275-6636
P.O. Box 270 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0270