JEFFERSON CITY - Too many Missouri Department of Transportation employees can tell harrowing stories of near misses in work zones and accidents that left them in the ditch, on top of their truck or in the hospital. One message these workers have for Missouri motorists is: "When you see orange signs, they are there for a reason. Slow down and be alert."
As highway construction again gears up for the year, MoDOT is working to prevent work zone accidents by reminding motorists, "Don't Barrel Through Work Zones." Billboard and radio advertising throughout the state will carry that message through the construction season.
MoDOT is also sponsoring Operation Orange for the second year to increase work zone awareness and honor fallen workers by lighting state landmarks orange during Work Zone Awareness Week, April 7-11. In addition to MoDOT buildings statewide, other facilities that will be lit orange include the St. Louis Science Center Planetarium, Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Zoo, the Boone County Courthouse, the Shelter Insurance Gardens' fountain in Columbia, the Emerson Bridge in Cape Girardeau, Hammons Field in Springfield and the Branson Landing.
More information about Operation Orange can be found at www.modot.org/operationorange.
"Work zone deaths and injuries are preventable," MoDOT Director Pete Rahn said. "Most often they are caused by inattention. We need drivers to be alert."
Education and enforcement efforts, along with improved engineering measures, appear to be paying off. In 2007, five people were killed in work zones, a 74 percent decrease from 2006 when 19 people were killed. Work zone injuries decreased more than 33 percent. There were approximately 800 people injured in 2007 work zones, compared to 1,190 in 2006.
According to Missouri statistics, most work zone crashes are caused by inattention, excessive speed and following too closely. Motorists are the ones most likely to be killed or injured in a work-zone crash.
Work zones will be all over the state again this year as MoDOT continues its Better Roads, Brighter Future initiative. The plan calls for improvements on 5,600 more miles of major roadways by 2011 and will bring 85 percent of Missouri's roadways up to good condition.
The Better Roads, Brighter Future program targets highways carrying 80 percent of all traffic on the state highway system-that's 103 million miles traveled a day. When the program is complete at the end of 2011, the improved roads will prevent approximately 85 disabling injuries and save 10 lives every year.
Beginning this year, crews will also be working hard on the Interstate 64 construction project in St. Louis, as well as the kcICON project to improve Interstate 29 and Interstate 35 in north Kansas City, including a new Christopher S. Bond Bridge. Work will also begin on the Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Program, which will improve 800 bridges over the next five years.
For more information about construction projects statewide or to access the 2008 statewide construction map, visit http://www.modot.org/ or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
Editor's note: Attached is a partial list of buildings and landmarks that will participate in Operation Orange during Work Zone Awareness Week. The list will be updated as additional places are added. Visit www.modot.org/operationorange for periodic updates.
Operation Orange Participants (As of March 28)
East Hills Library, St. Joseph
Troop H Highway Patrol
MoDOT District Office, St. Joseph
North Central Region
Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop B Headquarters
MoDOT District Office, Macon
City of LaGrange
Lincoln County Commission, Troy
Ayers Oil Company, reader boards on major routes
Abel Oil Company, reader boards on major routes
Mercantile Bank, Louisiana
Bank of Lincoln County, Winfield
Jim Trenary Chevrolet, Troy
MoDOT District Office, Hannibal
Maintenance facilities on major routes
Kansas City Area
Belton Water Tower
Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Wornall Road Bridge at Brush Creek
City of Lee's Summit, Police Station
Downtown (Kansas City) Marriott Hotel
Country Club Plaza, fountain
Unity Village Tower
City of Harrisonville, City Hall
North Kansas City, City Hall
Hampton Inn, Clinton
Memorial Fountain, Grandview
MoDOT District Office and maintenance buildings
Boone County Courthouse
Shelter Insurance Gardens - fountain
MoDOT District 5 Office
MoDOT Central Office
St. Louis Area
Six Flags St. Louis - marquee
Saint Louis Science Center - Planetarium
Kiener Plaza - fountain
Logan College of Chiropractic
St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium - message boards
America's Center - message boards
St. Louis Zoo
Missouri Botanical Gardens - Ridgeway Center
Balke Brown Associates
Kozeny Wagner Contracting
Larry West, N.B. Contracting
Vinita Park City Hall
MoDOT Transportation Management Center
Welcome Center, Joplin
MoDOT District Office, Joplin
Hammons Field, Springfield
Branson Landing, Branson
MoDOT District Offices
South Central Region
Westgate GMAC Real Estate, West Plains
Great Rivers Distributing (Anheuser-Busch Distributor), West Plains
Holiday Inn Express, Rolla
MoDOT District Office
Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, Cape Girardeau
City of Cape Girardeau
Cape Girardeau Central High School
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center
Drury Southwest Signs
Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E, Poplar Bluff and Sikeston offices
Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce
Pemiscot County Courthouse
City of Farmington, water tower
MoDOT District Office, Sikeston