Thursday, July 28, 2011

Barrel Bob Praise

Today we're sharing some Barrel Bob praise from the KC area. Want to show him some love? Visit Bob on facebook!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Missouri River Runner Restored to Full Service

Amtrak will restore full service between Kansas City and St. Louis today.  The Missouri River Runner will resume operating both daily intrastate round trips. The round-trip being restored is Train 311, the morning westbound train from St. Louis, and Train 316, the afternoon eastbound train from Kansas City.

Service was reduced to a single round-trip on July 2 due to the diversion of additional Union Pacific Railroad freight traffic from flooded tracks onto the Union Pacific route used by the Missouri River Runner trains west of Jefferson City.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Commissioner

Joseph Hunt of St. Louis was sworn in today as the newest member of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. Chief Justice Richard B. Teitelman administered the oath of office in a ceremony at the Civil Courts Building in St. Louis.  Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Hunt to the commission post on June 30.

Hunt is the general president emeritus of the Ironworkers International and has served as an official in the building and construction trades for more than 40 years.  He has served as a board member of the Lambert St. Louis International Airport Commission, as a member of the National Heavy and Highway Alliance, and on the regional committee of the National Infrastructure Alliance. 

Hunt's term ends March 1, 2017.  He replaces David Gach of St. Joseph, whose appointment expired in March.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission is a six-member citizens' panel that governs MoDOT.  It can have no more than three members from any one political party.  Hunt is a Democrat.  Members are appointed to staggered six-year terms by the governor and must be confirmed by the senate. 

Other members of the commission are Grace Nichols, St. Charles, chair; Rudy Farber, vice-chair; Neosho; Joe Carmichael, Springfield; Stephen Miller, Kansas City and Kenneth Suelthaus, St. Louis.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More People Are Riding the River Runner

More and more people are riding the rails to their destinations. Ridership for Amtrak Missouri River Runner trains was up by 16 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30 – or an additional 25,811 passengers compared to the previous year. What’s behind the good news?

With gas prices higher than they were last year, and in constant fluctuation, more people are choosing the train for its convenience and because it is an economical way to travel. After all, a round trip adult ticket between St. Louis and Kansas City is as low as $56 and there is no early arrival required or getting stuck in traffic. You can even take your golf clubs or a bicycle along for a small fee.

With new infrastructure upgrades completed and others planned for the future, the train has become a more reliable way to go. Missouri River Runner trains reported an 89 percent on-time performance rate on average for FY ’11. (Note: Unfortunately, flooding has caused a disruption of one round-trip train across Missouri each day. Service is expected to be restored soon.)

The train is a friendly way to travel, too. In May, the Missouri service received a 97 percent satisfaction rate, the second best among state supported and other short distance corridors.

So, what are you waiting for? Get on board the Missouri River Runner for your next business trip or family vacation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Secret Word Contest

Beginning today and for the next four weeks, watch our facebook page for your chance to win tickets to the sold-out Jason Aldean concert at the Missouri State Fair on Saturday, Aug. 13!

We'll ask you to tell us the secret word each Monday (and we'll tell you how to find it) until the fair and randomly select a winner from the correct facebook responses. 

You have until noon tomorrow (July 19) to enter for this week. Check out to see how Barrel Bob can help you win Jason Aldean tickets!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Adaptive Traffic Signals

Don't you love that feeling when you're driving through a series of intersections and have to stop at each red light? We don't either.

Adaptive Traffic Signals to the rescue. This technology has been introduced in Lee's Summit, and drivers are loving it.

How does it work? The key component involves video cameras set up at each of the intersections, keeping track of vehicles and helping the system to think.

Congestion has been greatly reduced, and local law enforcement says there has been a reduction in traffic crashes and red-light running. Plus, savings in emissions and fuel consumption is a bonus for both the environment and your bank account.

Watch below to see exactly how these traffic signals are helping a community run more safely and with less headaches.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A New Day in Transportation

Sunrise on Route 87
A new state five-year highway construction program was approved yesterday by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission -- or, at least, half of one.

The new program is only half the size of recent years, at $600 million. That sounds like a great deal of money to many of us, but the average program has been $1.2 billion. With funding cut in half, Missourians will see a difference in the transportation upon which they depend.

"We'll continue to honor our commitments and maintain the condition of our roads and bridges to the best of our ability for as long as we can," said MoDOT Director Kevin Keith. "But without additional resources our system will eventually get worse."

We're focused on delivering commitments that have been promised, which means keeping major highways in good condition, improving smaller state roads and keeping up with bridge repairs and maintenance. We're cutting internal costs with our Bolder Five-Year Direction and putting all resources available to road and bridge maintenance.

Is that the answer? No. It's only a temporary fix. A long-term funding solution is needed in order to address economic development opportunities, deliver improvements or replace major bridges.

What funding solution would you support for Missouri?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

MoDOT Hauls Out the Big Bags

Now, that's a sandbag.
In my house, when I mention big bags, it usually is in reference to my lack of sleep, but here at the department Big Bags take on a whole new meaning.

With the recent flooding problems across the state, MoDOT is trying a new tool to keep water off the roads and motorists safe. Big Bags are large sand bags -- really large -- that unfold like an accordion to create a 15-foot long, 3-foot high by 3-foot wide storage compartment for sand. One system of Big Bags takes the place of 500 sand bags.

They were tested for the first time in the southeast area in the spring when flooding was a problem, and now they’re being used on the west side of Route 65 between Carrollton and Waverly for a two-mile stretch.

Remember playing with Legos? Well, these work much the same way. A chain of dumpster-sized bags can be attached, filled with sand and built upon to create floodwalls quickly and easily. The bags are made of tightly woven polypropylene with wooden frames screwed together. Each system weighs only 50 pounds when empty, but when deployed they are filled with 2,800 -3,500 pounds of sand, depending on its moisture content. The bags are filled with the help of a conveyer system created during their recent use in the southeast area.

MoDOT was has 480 systems available to use when needed. Check out pictures of these Big Bags on MoDOT's Flickr site or watch a video of the Big Bags getting placed along Route 65.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Modot Minute

This week's MoDOT Minute shares how has been revamped to reflect the new seven-district structure and announces Michelle Teel as MoDOT's new Multimodal Director. Catch the MoDOT Minute each week for your latest transportation information!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Do You Pour Concrete Under Water?

Bridges have always amazed me. As someone who works with engineers but does not have that background, the process of constructing a bridge just seems incredible. My burning question has always been about how the foundation is built and holds strong. Really, how DO you pour concrete under water?

How do you pour concrete underwater?
My question has been answered, and with a neat little graphic to boot. The New Mississippi River Bridge project in St. Louis is offering a virtual tour that answers all of your questions about how these massive structures take shape. Don't miss the pictures of the coffer dam, where crews are able to work on the riverbed.

If you're in the St. Louis area, you can see these steps in person. On the last Friday of each month, schedule a tour where you can see the action up close. Check out the specifics here

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Light Up the Sky

D5411_CM_03 by MoDOT Photos
D5411_CM_03, a photo by MoDOT Photos on Flickr.
The new Christopher S. Bond Bridge in Kansas City took on a whole new light on July 3, and it became a real blast.

The bridge features a unique lighting system with a series of interconnected color-changing panels - 106 of them - able to display thousands of colors in a variety of patterns. There are nine lighting packages that can be used throughout the year to reflect the city's seasons, holiday and regional events.

The inaugural lighting debut kicked off just minutes before the fireworks extravaganza celebrating KCRiverFest over the Fourth of July holiday.

Don't miss the rest of these photos on Flickr!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

State Agencies and Midwest DOTs Unite to Battle Flood

The water is rising. Roads and interstates are disappearing beneath the widening banks of the Missouri River. Levees are holding, but nature will soon test their strength.

There is only so much you can do: pile up sandbags, reroute traffic, hope the levees hold.

And let people know what’s going on.

In fact -- at this stage of the fight -- information is your best defense. The more people know, the better they can react. To shore up this defense, MoDOT is sending out news releases, e-updates, Facebook announcements and blog postings to make sure we’re reaching as many people as possible.

And we are not alone in this task. In an unprecedented level of cooperation, Missouri has joined forces with three other state departments of transportation to unify our message and give travelers throughout the Midwest a heads up before they drive into a problem.

If you visit you will see not only Missouri flood information, but up-to-date reports from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. There is even a regional detour for travelers who are making their way cross country. Links to detours, news releases and flood predictions from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are also included on the page.

The rising water pays no attention to our state borders. It doesn’t care if a traveler is from Iowa or Missouri or Nebraska or Kansas. We have to answer the threat with the same strategy. If Nebraska and Iowa DOTs can reach Missouri travelers before there’s a problem, they might save someone’s life. If we share our message with their travelers, maybe someone will pick it up before there’s trouble on the road.

MoDOT would like to thank our fellow DOTs -- and all the Missouri state agencies including SEMA, the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, DNR -- who are contributing to our fight against the flood.

The sandbags may hold the swelling banks at bay, but information is your first line of defense.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

If you gotta go, go big. This explosive video is two years old, but makes just as big of a bang today.
Happy Fourth of July!