Friday, December 31, 2010

Signs of Progress

The end of a year just isn't the same without a little reflection on the year's accomplishments. For 2010, MoDOT had some big ones. Customer satisfaction and trust are high, billions of pounds of waste have been recycled, kcICON opened early and was selected as a top road project, and the number of fatalities on Missouri roads continue to decline. Watch below to learn about 2010's top ten signs of progress for Missouri transportation.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Drive Clear in the New Year

Drive Clear in the New Year!

Over the past five years, 1,394 Missourians have been killed in impaired driving crashes. The choice is yours. Be responsible and make one of your New Year's resolutions be to Drive Clear in the New Year.

Take the Drive Clear in the New Year quiz to learn more about the devastating effects of impaired driving and you will be automatically entered to win one of four $20 gas cards from MFA Oil/Break Time. The contest runs from January 3-7, 2011. Winners will be randomly drawn and announced by 5 p.m. January 7.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Your Input, Please

If you could guide the future of rail in Missouri, where would it lead?  A new online survey gives you the chance to tell us.

Visit MoDOT's homepage at or click directly to the survey here to give your input.

Results, along with other information collected through public involvement activities, will be used to help MoDOT create a statewide rail plan that will focus on three areas: Freight rail development, passenger rail and highway/rail crossing safety.

So speak up! Make tracks to the survey today and share it with someone you know who wants a voice in the future of rail in Missouri.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Enforcement on the Island

Officer Scott Roach with Meghan Carter, the affiliate executive director for MADD St. Louis.

Officer Scott Roach with the St. Louis County Police Department has a passion for keeping people alive. Sometimes his passion leads him to an uninhabited island, or more precisely a median island at an intersection near Melville High School.

Officer Roach knows that keeping your hands on the wheel and off of your cell phone can prevent a crash, and wearing your seat belt can save your life if you are in one. The state of Missouri has made it illegal to text and drive if you are 21 or under; and St. Louis County has passed an ordinance saying you can be pulled over and ticketed if you are not wearing your seat belt – at any age.

He says these laws are sometimes difficult to enforce from the comfort of his patrol car simply because you can’t really see what is going on inside the vehicle of a passing motorist. He says people have taken to holding their cell phones down low so you can’t see what they are doing which makes texting and driving even more dangerous.

With all this in mind, on a recent week day, Officer Roach got out of his patrol car, and took an unassuming position on the island at the intersection of Lemay Ferry Road at Buckley Road in jeans and a hoodie.  He had previously set  up his plan with five officers in squad cars who were on the side of the road just ahead of him.

 “Two thumbs on a keyboard is a dead giveaway,” said Roach. But even then it’s difficult to prove someone was texting. They can always use the excuse of checking voicemail or flipping through their contact list. “One young lady said she was texting her mom to tell her she would be calling her later,” he said. “That is not worth causing an accident.”

From his spot on the island, he radioed ahead to the squad cars a visual description of the vehicles in which the drivers was breaking the law. In two hours, the officers had together written tickets for 35 seat belt violations and three texting while driving tickets.

“I decided it was time to do something different when I realized my own daughter is just 9 years away from driving,” says Roach. “ I won’t be able to stand on that island very many times before people catch on to me. But then we’ll come up with something new.”

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Huge Heart

For a heartwarming boost to your holiday weekend, watch below to learn how a little girl has made a big difference in her community. Madalyn Hubbs is the daughter of MoDOT employee Melissa Hubbs in St. Louis, and it's wonderful to see how she is bringing smiles to those at Shriner's Hospital!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Winter Wonderland

It seems a white Christmas is on the way for Missouri!

While my children are thrilled, I have to admit I'd prefer clear, dry weather for our family and the many families traveling this weekend. I'm glad to know MoDOT has been monitoring weather conditions all week and is ready for action even before the wintry mixes begin.

What's it like at MoDOT when that winter wonderland becomes a reality? Check out our post from last week - many employees will be working over the holiday to make sure the roads are treated and plowed, and we hope you'll let us know how we're doing.

In the meantime, it seems Santa has been cleared by the FAA for travel, and the reindeer of course have their secret weapon with Rudolph. The winter wonderland outside shouldn't keep Santa from getting around safely, and MoDOT will be out there doing everything possible to make sure your family has safe travels as well.

Learn more about the safest way to drive in winter weather at

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Little Holiday Cheer Goes a Long Way on our Roads

Headed to Grandma’s house this Christmas? Enjoy the holiday, but remember to plan ahead to make sure you arrive alive.

Although the holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends, it can also be a very dangerous time on Missouri roads. In 2009, from Christmas Eve through New Year’s weekend, 24 fatalities occurred in traffic crashes on Missouri roads and 122 serious injuries.

Make a new year's resolution to always wear your seat belt and never drive impaired. Seat belts are proven life savers, saving more than 13,000 lives each year. During a crash, being buckled up keeps you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas being thrown out of a vehicle is almost always deadly.

Finally, Christmas is one of the busiest travel days of the year, and this year it looks like it’s shaping up to be a very white Christmas in most of Missouri. Allow extra time for your trip and consult MoDOT's Traveler Information Map at to get the latest road conditions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is Your Car Ready?

It seems like everyone is busy getting ready for the holidays this week, but is your car ready? Today is the first day of winter and we could be looking at a white Christmas in only a few days. Watch below to pick up some important tips to make sure you get to all of your holiday celebrations safely.
Some highlights include:
  • Check your tire pressure and tread condition
  • Make sure your antifreeze is at proper levels
  • Inspect the oil level and windshield wiper fluid
  • Pack a small emergency kit in case of the unexpected

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Behind the Scenes of MoDOT's Winter Operations

Sometimes it's the little things that count the most. While most people envision big trucks plowing snow when it comes to our winter operations, there is an awful lot that goes on behind the scenes to help you get where you're going safely when the weather turns bad.

MoDOT becomes a beehive of activity at the mere hint of snow and ice. On a local level, staff members take a look at the tools they have - weather forecasts, pavement sensors, information from other states, etc. - and put their heads together to determine the best course of action to take. Like the snowflakes falling to the ground, no two storms are alike and neither is the plan of attack.

As each area carries out its action plan for the situation at hand, the information is shared with staff statewide. We use the word "snowcall" to describe the telephone conference calls that take place to make sure we're operating efficiently and effectively on a statewide level. The calls are used to determine what areas may need additional resources, such as people or equipment, and who has staff and trucks to spare. Sometimes, it's the mention that one area is noticing a shift in the storm that puts another region on alert. Other times, it's a heads up that certain chemicals and treatments are working better than others under the particular conditions. Or perhaps its a notice that highways in neighboring states are closed and will affect Missouri travelers. A wrap-up snowcall typically takes place following each winter weather event to determine what went right and what we can do to get better.

While all this is going on behind the scenes, our customer service representatives are busy 24/7 taking calls, providing road condition information and dispatching crews to trouble spots. Other employees are busy inputting data to keep the Traveler Information Map current for motorists. Still others are feeding information to the media and public via Twitter and Facebook.

It's all hands on deck at MoDOT when it comes to keeping roads clear and safe for travel. While we can't fool Mother Nature, we do try to manage what she sends our way!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Missouri Miles

In this month's Missouri Miles, we show you how MoDOT crews work around the clock to make sure your roads are safer. Plus, a major Missouri road project wins a very prestigious award! We also give you tips on how to keep your car running smoothly in the winter and ask some of the best truck drivers in the state why it is important to Buckle Up.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Missouri Remembers Impaired Driving Victims

In a tribute to lives impacted by impaired driving crashes, nearly 100 people joined together at the Missouri State Capitol yesterday in remembrance and resolve to prevent these needless tragedies.

While fatalities in Missouri have decreased by 31 percent since 2005, impaired driving fatalities have remained steady, contributing to more than 30 percent of all fatalities. Over the past five years, 1,394 Missourians have been killed in impaired driving crashes.

A Christmas tree was lit in honor of the 281 lives lost last year as a result of impaired driving. Attendees were encouraged to take ornaments to help remember their loved ones.

During the ceremony, the Highway Patrol showed a new video called "Instant of Choice" that tells the story of two lives forever changed by an impaired driving crash. The video can be viewed in the Highway Patrol museum. A new website was also announced where you can leave tributes to friends and loved ones victimized by impaired driving.
Together, we remember. Together, we can make a difference by exercising personal responsibility and making the right choice - to drive sober.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Traveler Information Map down for maintenance this Friday

Heads up! If you’re a regular visitor to our Traveler Information Map (and you should be) the uber popular online app will be down for maintenance this coming Friday, Dec. 10 from noon to 6 p.m.

MoDOT is upgrading the database that runs the map so you’ll have to turn to other sources, such as our toll-free number, for road information during those brief six hours. MoDOT is keeping an eye on the weather. If things look snowy, we’ll postpone the work for a later date.

The upgrade is routine and will not change the operation or appearance of the map.

We’re still open for business! Need to know about a route, work zone or incident Friday afternoon? Call our customer service line at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT. (That’s 1-888-275-6636, by the way).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cleaning Up

Gov. Jay Nixon presents MoDOT employee Curtis Dowden with  the 2010 Recycling Award.
I guess the older I get, the easier it is to understand why conserving, recycling, and reusing is important to preserving our planet. Now I’m far from being a recycling super hero, but I do try and think green every day. I’m happy to say that my recycling bin is pretty full when disposal services show up at my house every week and nothing gets thrown away from my office that shouldn’t be. Now, there are green efforts… and then there are GREEN efforts.

The Missouri State Recycling Program recently announced this year’s winners for top agency and individual for recycling and waste reduction… and MoDOT swept the awards, again!

Curtis Dowden, a MoDOT senior materials inspector, won the individual award for his recycling efforts. Dowden started a plastics recycling program in Willow Springs and collects about 70 pounds of it every week. Dowden recycles the plastic, which decreases trash hauling costs and waste that would end up in an area landfill. The New Franklin Parkway project helped MoDOT secure the team award. This green effort included removing a bridge crossing the Katy Trail, recycling the demolition debris, and keeping thousands of tons of potential waste from heading to an area landfill.

Every little bit helps, from my weekly 15 or so pounds of recyclable waste to the 70 pounds of plastic Curtis Dowden is committed to collecting. The 10,000 pounds of waste averted from a New Franklin area landfill to the more than 8 billion pounds of waste MoDOT has recycled since 2005. Being green is a goal MoDOT strives to achieve and these statewide recycling awards show the commitment.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Everyone Loves This Bridge!

Last week, beams were set on a bridge on Route U in Pettis County, near Sedalia. No big deal, really, since this scene has been repeated hundreds of times as MoDOT has completed 314 new bridges since the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program got rolling in April 2009.

But this one was a little different, since one of the beams was displayed at the State Fair in Sedalia in August. Visitors to MoDOT's Highway Gardens were encouraged to sign the beam to demonstrate their support for new bridges in Missouri. And sign it they did ... by the thousands. One lady who lived nearby the bridge site signed it on the bottom "so that I can see it when I float underneath it next summer."

Now the beam is at its final resting place in a multi-span bridge over Spring Fork Creek. The latest signature added to the structure, as you'll see in the picture, is from one of the construction workers at the site. He and others like him will be plenty busy in 2011, when MoDOT and its design-build contractor KTU Constructors plan to build more than 300 new bridges across the state.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Help is on the way

“You’re my savior!”
“Now I won’t be late for work.”
“Thank you for getting me off this busy highway.”

Those are just a few of the things I heard drivers say recently to St. Louis motor assist operators. I had the great pleasure of riding along with a few of these MoDOT team members to see why it’s important to keep highway traffic moving, and experienced a lesson in humanity as well.

The main goal of MoDOT's motorist assist program is to keep traffic moving on the busy highways in the St. Louis and Kansas City area. For every minute a lane is closed… 20 minutes of backup is the result. This is not only problematic for traffic flow, but dangerous too. Cars and trucks go zipping by at speeds exceeding 70 MPH and many of these stranded motorists feel confused as to what to do next. Many people don’t know why their car stalled, how to change a tire, or have anyone to call if they run out of gas. It was quite amazing to see relief and joy appear on dozens of faces once they realized help had arrived and their stopped vehicle was able to get going again. It was nice to see people get the help they desperately needed, but I also noticed that by assisting these motorists it allowed for everyone else to continue safely down the highway.

I was glad to see just how dedicated MoDOT motorist assist operators are when it came to helping drivers and keeping traffic running smoothly. I was a part of more than 25 assists and the MoDOT operators I took a ride with were able to get every one of these stranded drivers off the shoulder and back on the highway. Many Missourians don’t realize this service exists and are even more surprised when they’re told the help is free.

Let’s hope none of you have to deal with car troubles that force you off the road, but feel solace in the fact that help from MoDOT and motorist assist operators is on the way.