Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Searching for Barrel Bob

Where in the world is Barrel Bob now? What was intended as a fun, but informative safety campaign ended with an act of vandalism this weekend. Bob was taken from his location at U.S. 50 and Bynum Road without authorization on Sunday evening.

Barrel Bob was placed in a very active construction zone to send a safety message - to slow down and drive safely in work zones. Unfortunately his message was not taken seriously.

"We would very much like to see him returned and we are working with the police to find him," said Perry Allen, Construction and Materials Engineer. "Since 2000, 15 MoDOT employees have been killed in the line of duty. Bob is the literal representation of how important driver awareness is to the safety of workers in the construction zone."

Allen encourages anyone with information about Barrel Bob's location to contact the Lone Jack Police Department or MoDOT at 888-275-6636.

While intended to be clever and eye catching, the Barrels also represent a very important message about taking it slow through work zones. With the loss of Barrel Bob an innovative education campaign on safety is no longer available.

Barrel Bob, developed as part of the kcICON project, is a creation of Robert Ohl, a Clarkson Construction employee. All labor and materials were donated to create Barrel Bob, which took about ten hours to build. Barrel Betty, also a donation from Ohl and Clarkson Construction, joined Bob on the job this past February.

A Windy Week

MoDOT employee Kris Sandgren completed day 22 of his 2,600-mile ride from Anacortes, WA to Jefferson City, MO, in honor of MoDOT's fallen workers. Learn more about what inspired his ride, and check back here for more updates as he heads south for the rest of his trip.

Day 21 -- Monday, July 12

Kris keeps traveling east across southern South Dakota and hits Sioux City, IA, just after noon. He's riding in light rain. He skirts Sioux City, pedaling in fast traffic across a bridge over the Missouri River as close to the outer railing as he could. He puts his head down and pushes hard. "I didn't look back," he said.

He continues south on U.S. 75 along the west side of the river. He encounters hills north of Tekamah, NE, and is chased by dogs -- three of them -- for the first time on the ride. He grabs his canine repellent. "I just gave the lead dog a shot and the other two quit on their own." He has dinner at a Subway in Tekamah and checks into a local motel, small but clean. "I seem to be wearing down on the camping thing." Besides it looks like rain again and he doesn't want to be outdoors.

Day 22 -- Tuesday, July 13

Before leaving Tekamah, NE, Kris visits with the editor of the Burt County Plaindealer. Kris hits the road mid-morning and encounters strong head winds as he approaches Omaha, NE. "The wind is tormenting me. It blessed me across Montana. Now it's cursing me." He plans to spend the night with friends in Omaha.

Watch for more details as Kris completes the last days of his journey.
If you would like to make a donation or pledge by the mile in support of his ride:

Make check payable to:
State Highway & Transportation Employees
Association of Missouri
Mail to:
Fallen Workers' Memorial
c/o District 7 Highway Credit Union
3901 E. 32nd St., Suite A
Joplin, MO 64804
Attention: Dave B. Taylor