Friday, May 28, 2010

Do You Know the "No Zone?"

Do you know where the "No Zones" are located around an 18-wheeler? Learning them could save your life.

In a effort to educate the driving public on these over-the-road truck blind spots, Wal Mart worked with MoDOT to set up a special display and presentation, May 28, at the Conway rest area on Interstate 44

"A No Zone is the spot beside a truck where you’re not supposed to be driving," said Dwayne Davidson, Wal-Mart OTR driver and safety promoter. "We want people to be able see these blind spots for themselves and learn how to stay out of them."

To help illustrate these zones, Davidson and fellow driver Mark Henley, set up an 18-wheeler in the Conway rest area just before Memorial Day weekend. The side of the trailer shows visitors exactly where the danger areas are. But to fully get the idea of where these spots eclipse a driver’s line of sight, the pair goes one step further.

"We let people sit in the cab so they can what we see," said Henley. "We actually park cars in the No Zones so folks can see where the blind spots are around the truck."

Davidson imparted one simple rule of thumb for drivers.

"If you can’t see my face in my rearview mirrors, I can’t see you at all," he said.

They two men have been promoting safety for the past three years. To get the message out, they set up displays at rest areas regularly around weekends and holidays. They also will visit schools and other organizations to help people learn how to stay out of the No Zone.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Accelerated Innovation

Safe & Sound bridge projects are kicking off across the state. Yesterday, the ribbon was cut on a design-build project completed on Route 61 over Buckeye Creek in Cape Girardeau County. It embodies the goals of the Safe & Sound program by illustrating both flexibility and innovation.

The project was accelerated by one year to accommodate the low weight posting of the previous pony truss bridge. Construction on nearby Interstate 55 that reroutes vehicles over Buckeye Creek meant that an innovative solution was needed quickly.

The pony truss structure was replaced with twin Super Cor structures -- prefabricated metal culverts with concrete retaining walls. It's the first bridge of this type on the Missouri state system. Using the Super Cor components meant the project could be completed more quickly and with less labor.

The picture above shows the demolition of the old pony truss bridge.

The new and improved bridge using the Super Cor structures.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Road Trips: Memorable Versus Miserable

One of the most memorable road trip memories I have is of traveling from Jefferson City to St. Louis for a Cardinals baseball game when my husband and I were first married. We had taken I-70 and were about halfway to St. Louis when we approached slowing traffic that eventually brought us to a dead stop.

It was a hot, summer afternoon and as we sat stalled in traffic due to road resurfacing work, the air conditioner started to sputter and then conked out altogether. After a few minutes, we were both getting a little irritable. Things only got worse when my husband said, "You did remember the tickets, didn't you?" I can still see those tickets lying on the kitchen counter at home.

MoDOT works hard to make sure your trips are memorable, not miserable, but there are still going to be some inconveniences along the way. It's the price we pay for road and bridge improvements. Fortunately, there are tools that can help. MoDOT recently issued a list of 10 work zones to watch out for this summer. In addition, the department's Traveler Information Map provides details about construction work up to a week in advance. Find them at

These items would have come in handy when my husband and I made that road trip 21 years ago. We might have taken Highway 50 instead and sailed right into St. Louis. But, then again, we wouldn't have nearly as good of a story to tell the kids.

Monday, May 24, 2010

All Aboard, Cardinals Ahead!

There's still time to Catch a Train and Catch a Game!

We were able to catch a train and visit some of the St. Louis Cardinals. Watch some of the Cardinal greats in batting practice below and hear infielder Tyler Greene's message to motorists.

The sweepstakes runs until June 8, and two lucky winners will be selected! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Click It or Ticket Day and Night

How can we get more Missourians to buckle up?

That was the question on everyone’s mind the past two days at the Missouri Seat Belt Summit where safety experts from around the state gathered in Jefferson City to come up with a strategy for improving Missouri’s seat belt usage rate.

Seat belt use in Missouri has remained relatively unchanged in the last six years and consistently below the national average. Missouri has 77 percent seat belt usage, well below the national average of 84 percent. Missouri’s teen seat belt use is even lower at 61 percent. Seven out of 10 Missourians killed in traffic crashes are unbuckled.

Law enforcement officers will be cracking down on motorists who aren’t wearing seat belts May 24-June 6. The Missouri State Highway Patrol was present at the summit and made it clear that there is ZERO tolerance in Missouri for not wearing your seat belt.

Last year during the two-week Click It or Ticket campaign, 188 law enforcement agencies issued 7,243 seat belt and 243 child restraint violations. During the campaign, law enforcement also issued 10,322 speeding violations and made 375 DWI, 187 felony and 241 drug arrests.

Buckle up and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing and not wearing it can cost you everything.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Creative Kids With a Message

Children across Central Missouri got out their art supplies last month to help spread the message to Buckle Up and Arrive Alive.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety's Central Region asked children to download a "Buckle Bear" coloring sheet and turn it into a work of art. Almost 200 children sent in their creative works, which were displayed at the Missouri State Capitol Building last week.

If you missed them, keep an eye out - the coalition plans to display them at other locations throughout the central region this summer.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Better Way to Stay Informed

The latest news in Missouri transportation is easier to access than ever before!

MoDOT's newsroom has been recently redesigned and we think you're going to be impressed by the result. You can quickly and easily watch, read, listen or look at the latest transportation information that affects you.

Up-to-date information includes:
  • A video library updated regularly that brings you the most recent MoDOT news stories, PSAs and educational pieces
  • Revolving pictures that let you access our Flickr photostream site
  • Easy access to all news releases sent statewide or from each district office
  • Weekly podcasts from MoDOT Interim Director Kevin Keith
  • Quick access to all of our social networking sites
Visit and look for the Newsroom link in the right-hand column.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Celebrated Beginning

Yesterday was a big day for bicyclists and pedestrians in central Missouri, and for tourists across the state.
The groundbreaking began for a new Missouri River Bridge attachment that will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the Missouri River on the U.S. 54 eastbound/U.S. 63 northbound bridge, providing easier access to the popular Katy Trail from Jefferson City. This year marks the 20th anniversary for the 225-mile trail crossing the state from St. Charles to Clinton.
The bridge will now be safer for everyone, and will help promote the economy in Jefferson City. Those using the Katy Trail will be more likely to cross the river to enjoy the views and visit the state capital.
The new attachment will be eight feet wide and include two look out points with a view of the Missouri State Capitol Building. A ramp structure will be constructed on the north side of the river to allow access to the katy Trail via the Missouri Department of Conservation public fishing area. The project should take about one year to complete, so mark your calendars for a visit next summer.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Catch a Train, Catch a Game!

Who doesn't love trains and baseball? Sit back, relax and let an American icon take you to enjoy America's favorite pastime.
Amtrak, MoDOT and the Missouri Division of Tourism are partnering to celebrate National Train Day (May 8, 2010) and National Travel and Tourism Week (May 8 - 16, 2010) with the "Catch a Train, Catch a Game" Sweepstakes. Two grand prize winners will be selected, one for a St. Louis Cardinals prize package and one for a Kansas City Royals prize package.
The sweepstakes is open to all U.S. residents 18 years of age or older. No purchase is necessary to win. Enter to win online at between May 8 and June 8.
Whether you wear a red or a blue hat to the game, we think you'll have a great trip.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month

Traffic crashes continue to be the #1 cause of death and injuries for teens in the United States. National Youth Safety Month is held each May by the National Organization for Youth Safety to help spread traffic safety awareness in an effort to change this startling statistic.

In Missouri, one in four Missouri traffic crashes involves a young driver. Between 2007 and 2009, 304 teens (15-19) were killed in traffic crashes. And although there are many reasons for crashes, our biggest concerns for teen motorists are texting and driving, and their failure to wear seat belts.

Last year, Missouri passed a law prohibiting drivers 21 and under from texting, along with a $200 fine if caught. Distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic crashes in Missouri and nationwide and 28 percent of all crashes a year on U.S. highways are caused by drivers using cell phones.

Under Missouri’s Graduated Drivers License Law, seat belt use is required for young drivers. Yet 40 percent of Missouri teens don’t buckle up. You can remind a teen to buckle up by sharing these top 10 reasons for buckling up:
1. I just don’t like the taste of glass.
2. I don’t have a license to fly, yet!
3. I can see the road fine from inside my car.
4. It takes less time to buckle than text message.
5. Road rash isn’t attractive.
6. My head won’t fit in the CD player.
7. It’s not cool to be stone cold dead.
8. My friends won’t look good without me.
9. Wrinkled clothes are better than blood stains!
10. Would a casket be more comfortable?

The Missouri Coalition continues to sponsor various teen programs to help promote highway safety, but we need everyone’s help. You can get more information and send an electronic postcard reminding a teen to buckle up at And please if you know a teen – encourage them to buckle up and put their phone down. Let’s work together to ensure all Missouri teens Arrive Alive.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tell Us What You Think -- Your Thoughts are Worth a Million!

Have you ever said to yourself, "If I had a million dollars, I would (fill in the blank)"??? The answer is probably, yes, but I'd be willing to bet that if you got your million you wouldn't spend it on building and maintaining the state's roads and bridges. Right?! So that's why we do it for you. Transportation projects are very expensive, and it takes lots of millions to make our state's transportation system as safe and efficient as possible.

Once a year, MoDOT formally sets out a five-year construction program tellling you what you're getting for your money. It's this time of year now, so a formal comment period is under way -- May 5 through June 4. This is a chance to share your thoughts about the kind of transportation system you want in Missouri. The construction program you'll see is a mixture of public input, engineering expertise and money that's available.

You can offer comments at any time throughout the year, so keep the contact information below handy, and if you think of something later while day-dreaming about roads and bridges and other modes of transportation, MoDOT would like to have your input. We have to think ahead quite a few years as it can take some time to plan and build the transportation projects, but it's never too soon to get involved and help make a difference in the future.

Please tell us what you think -- your thoughts are worth a million and sometimes even a billion or so!

MoDOT Customer Service



Monday, May 3, 2010

Motorcycle Fatalities Decline in 2009

Motorcycle Safety Month is being ushered in with good news for the first time in more than a decade: motorcycle fatalities declined dramatically in 2009 in Missouri and nationwide.

Last year Missouri saw a 21.5 percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities while nationwide fatalities have declined by at least 10 percent.

In an effort to continue this decrease, Missouri is joining with federal, state and local highway safety, law enforcement and motorcycle organizations in proclaiming May 2010 as motorcycle safety awareness month.

As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the roads. Drivers of all vehicles need to be extra attentive and make sure you share the road and everyone Arrives Alive.

In 2009, 85 people were killed in motorcycle crashes. Ten percent of Missouri’s 2009 fatalities involved a motorcycle, and 99 percent of the people who died in crashes involving a motorcycle on Missouri roads were the motorcyclist.

Watch out for motorcycles. They can be small and hard to see. Riders, do you part and wear a helmet and reflective gear. Look. Learn. Arrive Alive.

For more information about motorcycle safety, visit or the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program website at

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