Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Message Boards Play Role in Finding Missing Children

The electronic signs that dot our interstates give you critical travel information every day, from upcoming construction work to wintry road conditions.

They can also help end a parent's worst nightmare.

Under the AMBER Alert Plan, area radio and television stations interrupt regular programming to air information about missing children using the Emergency Alert System. MoDOT's message boards play a part, providing a direct and immediate way to reach the public when time is crucial.

Jan. 13 is National Amber Alert Awareness Day, and the dynamic message boards will note this important day to help build awareness for this essential service.

Since it was created in 1996, the AMBER Alert program is credited with the successful recovery of 492 children, and MoDOT is proud to lend a helping hand. You can find more information, including guidelines for having alerts sent to your e-mail or cell phone, at www.missouriamberalert.com/current.php.

And The Beet Goes On

After brutal cold and snow-covered roads last week, the recent snow storm seems to be behind us. You could sense that yesterday was back-to-normal, with schools in session and the parking garage full at work. People even seemed to be getting back to those new year's resolutions, as evidenced by the packed YMCA I visited in the evening.

It's great to see the roads clearing up and to know they're safer. But as low as temperatures were last week, did you know that salt was not the only weapon in the snowplow driver's arsenal? For the past few years, MoDOT has also been using an anti-icing product called Geomelt, made from sugar beets.

Your mom was right, vegetables really are good for you, in more ways than one. Combined with salt, the beet juice freezes at a lower temperature than just salt alone so it can be used when the weather is colder - even at temperatures closer to zero.

Adding the beet juice also reduces the corrosive properties of salt and improves its effectiveness - for our vehicles and yours. That means less salt, more efficiency and less equipment, bridge deck and vehicle corrosion.
"Anything that keeps roads safer during extreme temperatures and bad weather means more lives saved," said Jim Carney, MoDOT's State Maintenance Engineer. "Because of the great results we've seen using beet juice, we've increased usage almost 700 percent over the last couple of years."

Beet juice is a natural product that works well when mixed with either rock salt or liquid salt brine to keep ice from forming on the roads before a storm. It also helps melt snow and ice once they are already on the roads.

So keep your mom happy - eat your vegetables, and travel more safely with them, too.