December 10, 2015
Top of the Page
Missouri State University student shares views on highway safety, transportation funding

As a student at Missouri State University, Courtney Kolb travels back and forth between her home town, Jefferson City, and Springfield on a frequent basis.

Click on the image above to watch Courtney Kolb share her personal story about transportation.

She says the state's investment in recent years in making sure roads and bridges are in good condition helps her make the drive without worry. Kolb recently shared her viewpoint with the Missouri Department of Transportation, which is featuring her story on its website and via social media as part of its Tough Choices Ahead: What Really Matters educational campaign.

"Transportation affects everyone," says MoDOT's Interim Director Roberta Broeker. "Just getting to work every day requires a personal experience with transportation. With limited resources, Missouri faces many tough choices ahead when it comes to long-term transportation support. Stories like Kolb's help us show how transportation touches the lives of those around us and why we shouldn't take our transportation system for granted."

Through four key pillars of transportation - roads, bridges, safety and economic development - the department is spotlighting business owners, workers, parents, students and travelers, all of whom have unique stories to tell about what matters most to them.

"I always feel very safe going back and forth," Kolb says of her travels between home and school. "Everyone expects roads to be safe, and I feel like we've definitely done a good job of doing that and making sure when someone gets on the road, they don't have to worry about getting to their destination."

Kolb knows that without additional, long-term funding for transportation, Missouri's roads and bridges will begin to deteriorate, which will have a negative impact not only on motorists, but also on economic development and ultimately on Missourians' quality of life.

"A long-term funding solution would enable us to provide more travelers with the same safe and reliable transportation experience Courtney enjoys," Broeker says.

You can view Kolb's full story and learn more about MoDOT's Tough Choices Ahead: What Really Matters campaign at http://www.modot.org/toughchoicesahead/
What Will You Do?
Drivers must take personal responsibility for safety when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Fatalities are preventable if drivers take proper measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others. 

Follow these tips to help prevent a fatal crash.

Never drive distracted.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Always wear a seat belt and make sure your passengers do too.

Never drive impaired by alcohol or illegal or prescription drugs.

Maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles.

Slow down,and obey the speed limit.

Obey Missouri traffic laws.

Drive appropriately for the weather conditions.
Social Media
Have You Heard This?
New legislation could save lives

Several bills were filed with the Missouri General Assembly this month that, if passed into law, could save the lives of hundreds of Missourians. One is HB 1424 which would give Missouri a primary safety belt law. The others are HB 1377, 1423 and SB 569 - bills that seek to extend the ban against texting and driving to all ages.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety has worked hard to promote the benefits of these issues for years. Safety belts save lives and distracted driving is not confined to any one age group. The Coalition's message in the coming months will concentrate on these two issues in an effort to educate both the public and our legislators on the positive impact these laws could have in our state.
Gov. Nixon appoints John W. Briscoe of northeast Missouri to State Highways and Transportation Commission (excerpt taken from Governor's news release)

Earlier this month, Governor Nixon appointed John W. Briscoe of New London to serve on the State Highways and Transportation Commission.

"From his more than 25 years as a county prosecuting attorney to his seven years on the Truman State Board of Governors, John has demonstrated both his desire and ability for public service," Gov. Nixon said. "That experience and dedication will be put to effective use on the State Highways and Transportation Commission as it works in concert with the new MoDOT Director, Patrick McKenna, to address the vital and challenging issues faced by Missouri's transportation system." 

The Governor has appointed Briscoe for a term ending March 1, 2021. His appointment will be subject to confirmation by the Missouri Senate.
Major Project Update
I-70 lane switches at Columbia, drivers can  view bridge construction progress online

Some major traffic impacts are happening for travelers in the Columbia area as construction of the Interstate 70 bridges at Rangeline Street, Business Loop 70 and Garth Avenue enters its second phase.

I-70 westbound traffic at both Garth and Rangeline has been redirected onto the new westbound bridges built at those locations. Late next week, eastbound traffic will be shifted to the existing westbound bridges.

The lane shifts will allow the contractor, Emery Sapp and Sons, to tear down the existing eastbound bridges and begin building new ones in their place. 

The speed limit on I-70 through the work zone is reduced from 60 mph to 50 mph, which by itself could cause traffic to back up at peak travel times. Couple that with the ongoing work and lane switches, and you have the potential for some significant traffic issues, said Travis Koestner, assistant district engineer for MoDOT's Central District. Read full news release .

For more information, including a diagram showing the lane switches and to sign up to receive weekly e-mail updates on the project, visit the  website at:  www.modot.org/ColumbiaBridges .
Did You Know This?
Learn more about MoDOT's External Civil Right's Division
 
Click on the image to watch a short video of Lester Woods, MoDOT's External Civil Rights director, speaking about his divisions' roll and responsibilities at MoDOT.
Winter Weather Travel Tips
Plan ahead and travel safely

With the great weather we've been having it's hard to think about snow, but as we all know, that can change suddenly. As we move into the winter season, MoDOT takes every opportunity to check its equipment, train employees and refresh our winter operations skills. When it snows in Missouri, MoDOT is ready. 

Staying safe during winter weather is something we all need to think about. Now is the time to go through your personal checklist to make sure you and your family are ready for winter travel.

Download the app to check the map.   Download MoDOT's traveler information app  through Googleplay or iPhone for  up-to-date road conditions at your fingertips. Download the app at  www.modot.org , and encourage your family and friends to do the same. You can also view the map on the website.

To make the map even easier to navigate, a short video shows all the options available. Check it out here - TIM How To Video.

Prepare your vehicle for winter. Check your battery, lights, antifreeze, wipers, belts and hoses. Put the ice scraper and other winter supplies in the car now so you don't have to dig for them when you really need them.

Keep an emergency pack in your vehicle.  The basics include blankets, bottled water and nonperishable food, a cell phone, dry clothing, a shovel, jumper cables, a flashlight and batteries. This could be lifesaving in an emergency.
 
Don't forget your tires. The condition of the tread can make a big difference when you're driving on slick roads. It's our job to report to work in inclement weather, so pack an emergency kit in your personal vehicle just in case. 

Don't take visibility for granted. If your car is covered in snow or frost, take the time to clear all the windows so you have maximum visibility. Don't forget to clear snow off the lights, hood and other surfaces of your vehicle so you're visible to other motorists.
Shovel smart - here's the secret

Once should be enough when it comes to shoveling snow out of your driveway after a winter storm. Unfortunately, that snow can end up re-deposited across your driveway entrance when snowplows begin to clear the roadways. MoDOT has a simple solution to help you avoid a second round of shoveling.

Scooping snow about 10 feet away to the left of your driveway is the key. This leaves enough room for a snow plow to deposit the excess snow in the free area you created, keeping your driveway entrance clear. 

MoDOT has a video to demonstrate this snow shoveling secret.  See how it works -

View From the Chair
Long-term federal bill is most welcomed but does not fix the problem
by Steve Miller, Chairman, Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission 

On Friday, the U.S. Senate passed and the President signed into law the first long-term transportation bill in over ten years. The FAST Act (Fixing America's Surface Transportation) calls for spending $305 billion over the next five years for surface transportation. You have undoubtedly heard cheers from both sides of the aisle. As a result of the euphoria surrounding this event, I have been asked about what it means for Missouri.

The biggest reason to cheer is that MoDOT now has some degree of certainty for at least the next five years regarding the federal money for which it is eligible. Over the last 10 years, Missouri and the other states have suffered through multiple continuing resolutions necessary to keep the highway fund solvent and avoid placing the states in default on their obligations. With the expiration of each continuing resolution, there was a risk that Congress might not pass another, meaning there would be no - or at least reduced - funding to states. This makes it very difficult to do the long-range planning essential to a successful transportation program. The FAST Act secures federal funding for the next five years. In this respect, it is a huge improvement over the status quo. But it does not solve the transportation woes for Missouri.

In addition to federal funds, Missouri needs $160 million in new state revenues if it wants to adequately maintain and improve the existing highway system, continue making systematic safety improvements and begin addressing the backlog of 641 critical-condition bridges that need to be rebuilt or replaced. Read More.
Missouri Dept. of Transportation | (888) 275-6636
P.O. Box 270 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0270