September 16, 2018
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Innovation allows highway workers to safely 
remove debris without ever leaving their truck

Efforts are underway across the state to make working conditions safer for highway maintenance workers with the implementation of a new tool to remove debris that was invented by workers in MoDOT's Kansas City District and KC Scout.

The machine -- called JAWS -- is mounted on a truck and includes an automated drop down skid-plate that can 'scoop' debris off the roadway, moving it onto the shoulder where it no longer impedes traffic and can be picked up in a safer manner.

An emergency response operator deploys JAWS, which last month won an achievement award from the Institute of Traffic Engineers.

The operator controls JAWS from inside the vehicle, using hand controls and a mounted camera display to quickly and efficiently move debris out of driving lanes and keep traffic flowing - all from the safety of the truck cab. This equipment allows crews to clear the roadway safer and is cost-effective because fewer trucks and personnel are needed.

"Innovation is at the core of our culture and this piece of equipment is just one example," said MoDOT 

Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. "Our employees are challenged to take their ideas and put them into practice so we can continually get better. They found a safer and better way to get the job done."

MoDOT plans to add at least 27 additional JAWS devices across the state. The department is in the process of having the additional units manufactured.

The idea is a product of the KC Scout Traffic Incident team, but it was the support and hard work of the Fleet Team at the Missouri Department of Transportation that brought it to reality. The name JAWS -- Julie's Automated Waste-Removal System -- is in memory of MoDOT employee Julie Love who was struck and killed retrieving debris from the roadway in 2004.

In August, JAWS was honored by the Institute of Traffic Engineers Transportation with an Achievement Award-Safety. It also won several awards at MoDOT's statewide Innovations Challenge last spring, including the Dickson People's Choice Award.

KC Scout Incident Management Coordinator Marcus Slaughter explains the concept and inspiration for JAWS in this video on You Tube:
Take the challenge: when you get into any vehicle, buckle up your seat belt. If you are a driver, put the cell phone down. Join the 4,834 individuals and 392 businesses who have joined the movement so far.

Click below to accept the challenge!

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Have You Seen This?
Stakeholder partnering for 
local public agencies

Administering the Federal Aid Highway Program is a complicated and sometimes difficult task. Click to watch a short video on how some states, like Missouri, partner with stakeholders to make this task easier and more beneficial to local agencies. 

Route 65: THE REBUILD among 12 of America's Best Projects
Competition ongoing for top prizes - online voting available now

There's still time to vote! After four regional competitions, this year's top 12 transportation projects have made it to the final phase of the 11th annual America's Transportation Awards competition for the chance to earn $10,000 for a scholarship or non-profit in their home states. The Southwest District's Route 65: THE REBUILD is among those top 12 competing projects. The project won in the regional round in the Quality of Life/Community Development, Small category.

Vote for the project by clicking on this link - Online voting began Aug. 30 and continues through Sept. 22. You can vote once a day.

The winners will be announced at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 23.

MoDOT has won each of the two top prizes in the past. The New I-64 won the Grand Prize in 2010 and the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program won the People's Choice Award in 2013.
Safer Roadways
Statewide highway safety award winners announced

One of the individuals receiving recognition at the 2018 Highway Safety and Traffic Blueprint Conference was Senior Traffic Studies Specialist Eddie Watkins, Jr.  Watkins, who works for MoDOT in the St. Louis District, received the statewide Arrive Alive award.
Five highway safety statewide award winners and 14 regional award winners were recognized at the 2018 Highway Safety and Traffic Blueprint Conference recently held in Columbia. The conference is organized by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, whose goal is to reduce fatalities and disabling injuries on Missouri roads.  

"We very much appreciate the efforts of all who are involved to encourage safe driving, and we will continue to work towards the ultimate goal of losing zero lives on Missouri roads," said Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Nicole Hood.

The statewide Arrive Alive Award was presented to Eddie Watkins, Jr., a senior traffic studies specialist with MoDOT in St. Louis. As an engineer, he focuses on continuously learning and developing best practices; yet, he doesn't stop there. He seeks out and is successful in finding funding opportunities. He helps implement and coordinate public engagement and was instrumental in the award winning Natural Bridge Road Safety Audit team. The award recognizes an individual or group who has shown exemplary dedication and leadership in the first of highway safety. It is the highest award given by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. 

Also recognized at the conference was Assistant Director with the ThinkFirst Missouri program Penny Lorenz-Anderson. She won this year's Tempe Humphrey Award for her work in the area of youth and teen safety
The statewide Tempe Humphrey Award was presented to Penny Lorenz-Anderson, assistant director with the ThinkFirst Missouri program. This award recognizes an individual or group who has made a significant impact in the area of youth or teen safety. It was named for a former Division of Highway Safety employee who created and implemented the statewide Team Spirit program to engage high school students in the process of safe driving. Tempe was killed in 2006 in a motorcycle crash. As an unbelted teen who survived a car crash, Lorenz-Anderson was left with a spinal cord injury that paralyzed her from the waist down. She has been in her position for 33 years, and it is clear for many who have heard one of the presentations she has given, she cares about young people and making the right choices when it comes to safe driving.

Read more about all the awards and conference here - Awards.
See more photos here -
Have you taken the challenge?

Click the image to watch Missouri Tigers Basketball Coach  Cuonzo Martin talk about the importance of taking the Buckle Up Phone Down challenge.

Fatality update

Did you know...  Sixty-two mayors from across the state make up "Mayors United for Progress." These mayors have embraced the Buckle Up Phone Down movement and are actively involved in making a change in their communities working toward/enacting primary seat belt ordinances in their cities. With their efforts, along with a few other cities and counties, we currently have 25 percent of Missouri's population under a primary safety belt ordinance.  #BUPD.

Statewide Fatality Totals 
as reported on the 
Missouri State Highway Patrol 
website as of Sept. 9, 2018: 

2018 Totals as of 9-9-18 - 634
2017 Totals as of 9-9-17 - 619
2016 Totals as of 9-9-16 - 622
2015 Totals as of 9-9-15 - 574
2014 Totals as of 9-9-14 - 506
2013 Totals as of 9-9-13 - 512
Did You Know This?

Photo depicting one of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad's 1940's Rebel streamliners. Photo from Wikipedia.
This day in transportation history

September 13, 1940 - In a major consolidation of railroads in the south-central United States, the relatively new Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad (GM&O) assumed control of the bankrupt Mobile & Ohio Railroad (M&O) through a deed that was signed and filed in Murphysboro, Illinois.

Missouri Dept. of Transportation | (888) 275-6636
P.O. Box 270 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0270