October 13, 2016
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Light at the end of the tunnel
Missouri River Bridge to open Nov. 14

There's some good news on the horizon for Missouri River Bridge commuters: the westbound Route 54/63 bridge in Jefferson City will reopen on Nov. 14.

The bridge, which has been closed since May 1 for painting and other repairs, was expected to open to traffic by the end of August, but unforeseen structural work kept that from happening. More specifically, the blasting process used to remove the old paint on the bridge revealed a larger number of deteriorated rivets needing to be replaced, so MoDOT extended its contract with Saffo, Inc. to repair the rivets and perform other structural repairs.

"While we're not happy we had to keep the bridge closed for longer than planned, we're glad to be able to pinpoint a date for the bridge to reopen," said MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester. "Nov. 14 is still some weeks off, but at least we can see a light at the end of the tunnel."

He added: "We want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this time. We know this work has been an inconvenience for many folks."

Reopening the bridge to traffic will take most of a weekend, much like when it closed, Silvester said. The effort will likely begin the night of Friday, Nov. 11 with the opening of the westbound bridge. Once the westbound bridge is open, work will switch to the eastbound bridge where the concrete barrier separating traffic will be removed along with the pavement striping that has allowed the eastbound bridge to carry two lanes of traffic in each direction.

Silvester asked commuters to continue to avoid peak travel times on the bridge for the next several weeks to cut down on congestion and the potential for crashes. He also urged drivers to slow down and pay attention as they approach and cross the bridge.

"We continue to experience traffic delays that likely could have been avoided if drivers had been driving the speed limit and paying attention," Silvester said.

More information, including the option to sign up for e-mail updates, is available at www.modot.org/central or by calling 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636).
What will you do?
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 seatbelt, 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, an d obey the speed limit
Obey Missouri traffic laws.

- Drive appropriately for the weather conditions.
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Safer Roadways
Harvest season is underway on Missouri farms
MoDOT cautions motorists to watch  out for slow moving vehicles

It's harvest time on Missouri farms and MoDOT wants to remind motorists to pay extra attention to farm equipment using and crossing state roadways.

"Harvest season is a busy time of the year for Missouri's farm families, and MoDOT wants to make it a safe time of year too," said MoDOT Traffic and Highway Safety Engineer Eileen Rackers. "Tractors, trucks and other farm equipment are slow moving, and motorists may be surprised when they come up behind one on a Missouri highway."

Missouri's 34,000 miles of state roadway pass alongside the fields of thousands of farms throughout the state.

Motorists are advised to slow down when approaching farm vehicles. Be patient as the farm vehicles travel to their field entrances. In passing zones, please wait until it is safe and pass at a safe distance and speed.
"If only" doesn't save lives
Motorists reminded to drive safely around big trucks

How often after a crash do people question, "If only they'd used their turn signal, or if only they'd worn their safety belt?" "If only" doesn't save lives - driving smart does.

Commercial motor vehicles (CMV) are an important part of our nation's economy. They carry goods from coast to coast and make up 20 percent of all traffic on Missouri's interstates. During Operation Safe Driver Week, Oct. 16-22, along with statewide educational efforts, law enforcement will actively pull passenger vehicles and trucks over for unsafe behavior, including but not limited to speeding, failure to obey a traffic device or driving under the influence.

Crashes involving tractor trailers don't happen very often, but when they do, the disproportionate size of a truck versus a car means those crashes can often involve serious injuries or worse. There's no room for taking chances around big trucks - they require big room. "We don't want you to take any chances when it comes to safely moving around big trucks," said Bill Whitfield, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "Please pay attention."

There were 120 people killed and 3,732 injured in Missouri traffic crashes involving a CMV in 2015. Here are some safety tips to help keep everyone safe when sharing the road with large commercial vehicles:
  • Don't cut off large trucks or buses when passing. Make sure you can see the top of the truck or bus in your rearview mirror before moving back into your original lane.
  • Stay out of the "No Zone." Big trucks have large blind spots on either side and up to 200 feet behind a vehicle. Pass only on the left side. 
  • Watch your following distance. Keep a safety cushion around trucks. Can you see the truck's side mirrors? If not, the driver cannot see you.
For additional information regarding roadway safety, or other transportation-related topics, contact the MoDOT Customer Service Center toll free, at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636). For more information on the Operation Safe Driver Campaign, visit http://savemolives.com/campaigns/details/operation-safe-driver-awareness-week.
Missouri Dept. of Transportation | (888) 275-6636
P.O. Box 270 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0270