Wednesday, August 31, 2011

MoDOT Minute

How much are this year's natural disasters costing Missouri? Find out in this week's MoDOT Minute - your transportation news in 60 seconds!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good for LYF

We found out about an app this week that may help combat texting while driving.

The LYF app rewards you for making the decision to stay safe and focus on your driving. LYF stands for Love Your Family.

The application tracks the use of your phone when your vehicle is moving more than 15 miles per hour. If the phone is in idle status during that time, the owner receive points.

Find out more at In the meantime, stay alert and focused when you're behind the wheel!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Year to Remember

Mother Nature has pummeled Missouri with four unprecedented weather events this year! Listen as Assistant Chief Engineer Don Hillis gets "To the Point" about the monetary damages to Missouri's transportation system caused by this spring and summer's flooding and the Joplin tornado. Learn how these disasters will impact our construction program.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gotta Get a Gator Getter!

You've seen it before: The slow moving truck with a large flashing arrow pushing you into the next lane. The laborious progression as crews hop from the truck to retrieve the random tire tread, couch cushions, laundry basket, branches or the hapless deer who crossed too soon. It's the debris removal crew snaking through the city, keeping MoDOT routes safe. Now we're testing a new tool that could make that process faster and safer.

It's the Gator Getter! 

Custom built to fit MoDOT's larger truck, this innovative machine scoops up trash while the vehicle travels with traffic at a comfortable 45 to 50 mph. There are only four in existence, and this is the only one in the U.S.

Because the Gator Getter operates in the midst of traffic, MoDOT no longer has to provide traffic control or close a lane while removing debris from the highway.  That means fewer delays for motorists and safer conditions for workers. 

If only I could get a smaller version for my living room!

During the testing phase, MoDOT crews are offering feedback to the company to make the product stronger and more versatile to handle the array of trash types and sizes. The next version will likely have a different style of blade and heavier body.

MoDOT crews pick up debris year-round, which can range from general car trash to pieces of furniture. One of the most common items - tires and tread - is actually separated and turned over to Missouri Vocational Enterprises so it can be shredded and reused as tire-derived fuel for power plants.

Find more details about this innovation below and watch the Gator Getter in action!

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's The Buzz?


Wondering if you can handle your drive home after a drink with some friends? There's an app for that.

The Show Me My Buzz app is available for download and lets you calculate your blood alchohol level before you decide to get behind the wheel. It's available now in the Android market and will be available through the iPhone app store soon.

“Show Me My Buzz” allows users to calculate their BAC based on how may drinks they have consumed, how long they have been drinking and their gender. It will even provide the phone number of a local cab company with just a tap of the screen.

The BAC calculator is only a guide that estimates averages.  Alcohol affects everyone differently.  Influencing factors include food consumption, medication, health and psychological conditions.  The best plan is to always designate a sober driver. A sober driver is someone who has not had anything to drink.

In 2010, 207 people were killed and 831 seriously injured in crashes involving a drunk driver.

Download today and let us know your thoughts!

Disclaimer: This blood alcohol concentration (BAC) calculator is only an estimate and is not sufficiently accurate to be considered legal evidence. The calculations are averages. Individuals may vary in their personal alcohol tolerance. Food in the stomach, medications, health and psychological conditions are influencing factors. Many establishments that serve alcohol serve portions larger than the standard drink size.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hybrid Composite Beams

If it works for boats, why not for bridges?

As part of its Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program, MoDOT received a $1 million federal "Highways for Life" grant to utilize hybrid composite beams on three bridge projects -- in Douglas, Shannon and Dade Counties. These innovative structural elements are much lighter than conventional steel or concrete beams, which make them easier to transport and install. The exterior of HCBs is fiberglass, materials also used to construct boats and sulfuric acid storage tanks. The fiberglass makes them more resistant to water and chlorides, and therefore longer lasting.

Check out some photos and the video below that explains this technology. Happy Sailing!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Save the date for Livable Streets Workshop

A few years ago, I traveled to Minneapolis for a work-related meeting. Venturing out to find a restaurant and explore the area around my hotel, I was quickly impressed to see dedicated bicycle lanes on their busy downtown streets.

Back at home, Jefferson City now has better options for walkers and peddlers with the new pedestrian/bicycle attachment to the Missouri River bridge. It gives bikers and walkers a safer connection between downtown and the Katy Trail – now noted as the best bike trail in the Midwest!

If you are interested in making your community more accessible to those who prefer to walk or ride a bicycle to work or shopping or just for fun and exercise, then you won’t want to miss the Best Practices in Bicycle Pedestrian Design workshop MoDOT is hosting in partnership with MU Extension later this month.

The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on August 25 and will feature nationally known Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner and Engineer Bruce Landis. His presentation will focus on strategies for transportation designers that make neighborhoods, retail districts and other community settings more walkable, bikable and accessible to all. If you are a planner, architect or engineer attending the workshop, you can even earn continuing professional education credits.

The workshop will be broadcast in a webinar fashion from a live presentation at MoDOT’s Kansas City District Office at 600 N.E. Colbern Rd., Lee’s Summit. It will be simultaneously televised for public attendance at seven additional MoDOT locations including Jefferson City, Chesterfield, Hannibal, Sikeston, St. Joseph, Springfield and Macon (see news release for physical addresses).

Registration is required and will cost $25, with a reduced registration of $10 for students. Lunch is included. Click here for more information or to register online.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Secret Word Facebook Contest

The Missouri State Fair has begun! MoDOT hopes to see you at the Transportation Exposition Center and Highway Gardens this year, and we'll have a contest running to encourage you to join in the fun.

Beginning on Saturday, August 13, check our facebook page anytime after 9 a.m. We will post a secret word. If you're at the fair that day, find a MoDOT staffer at the Highway Gardens who is wearing a Hawaiian lei. The first person to tell that MoDOT staffer the secret word will win!

The contest runs on five days - August 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21. Some of the days will have multiple prizes -- those who share the secret word first get their pick, the others pick from what's available.

So check our facebook page, beginning Saturday!! A list of prizes is included in our rules, and includes tickets to the sold-out Jason Aldean concert, Luke Bryan, Carnival of Madness, the Truck & Tractor Pull and the Demolition Derby.

Don't miss the fun! We'll see you at the fair!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

500 Bridges, Safe & Sound!

One year ago, we were celebrating the completion of the 200th bridge constructed under the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program.

Yesterday, that number climbed to 500.  Before the program is complete by the end of 2012, more than 800 bridges across Missouri will be rehabilitated or replaced.

We're more than halfway there! Better yet, the average closure of bridges across the state has been about 40 days -- that's half the time a typical bridge replacement takes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Project of the Year

The nation's first diverging-diamond interchange in Springfield has been named a Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association.  

The interchange has been receiving widespread attention since it was completed in 2009. This type of interchange was first used in France, and has been shown to increase capacity, decrease congestion and minimize the cost of new infrastructure.

More diverging diamond interchanges are happening in Missouri, including a second interchange in Springfield, as well as projects in Kansas City, St. Louis and mid-Missouri.

If you're wondering just exactly how they work, watch below. Driven through one already? Let us know what you think!

Friday, August 5, 2011

All aboard for the Missouri State Fair

In years past, my family and I have attended the Missouri State Fair. The trip there is always filled with anticipation for the fun we will have. But, after a long day of walking the fairgrounds in the sun, looking at exhibits, riding rides and tasting interesting fair foods, no one feels like driving home.

There is a simple solution – the Amtrak Missouri River Runner!

Amtrak runs between St. Louis and Kansas City with morning and evening stops in Sedalia by eastbound and westbound trains every day. If you don’t live in one of the metro areas, you can catch the train in Lee’s Summit, Independence, Warrensburg, Jefferson City, Hermann, Washington and Kirkwood.

By leaving the driving to the River Runner conductor, you can sit back and relax in a big comfortable seat, read the paper, catch up with the kids and even enjoy a snack from the dining car on your way there.

Plus, when you arrive you won’t have to worry about parking. A city bus is available to take fairgoers from Sedalia’s newly remodeled station to near the fair’s main gates for just $1.25.

Once you get inside the gates, stop by MoDOT’s Highway Gardens and visit the Amtrak table. You can enter to win Missouri River Runner tickets for another tranquil trip!

So, come on out to the State Fair on August 11 – 21. This year, it’s a Show-Me Thing! Let Amtrak Missouri River Runner show you a great way to get to Sedalia.

Check Amtrak schedules and fares, visit or call 800-USA-RAIL.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Enter the Barrel Bob State Fair Contest

If you were hoping to see an eleven-foot-tall barrel man at the Missouri State Fair this year, look no further than the MoDOT Highway Gardens. He will be the orange-and-white striped figure towering over all of us reminding you to slow down and pay attention in work zones.

Barrel Bob wants to make sure you don't get lost on the way to visit him at the Missouri State Fair, so he's giving you an opportunity to win a Garmin nuvi donated by WHHL/Hot 104.1.

Fashion a likeness of Barrel Bob in any medium. Draw a picture, sculpt him from macaroni, paint him, it doesn't matter! Upload your photo to his Facebook page, and you will be entered to win the GPS. You have until his official debut at the State Fair on Aug. 11 to enter. Check out the official rules here.

Ready, set, DRAW!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bottleneck Be Gone

By definition, a bottleneck is something that halts free movement and progress. While it may not be a term we like to see associated with any mode of travel, bottlenecks still do exist on Missouri's main passenger rail corridor.

The good news is that MoDOT, Union Pacific, Amtrak and other partners are working together to eliminate these trouble spots.

In accordance with this goal, MoDOT recently signed a service agreement with Union Pacific Railroad that will allow work to begin on Missouri’s first rail infrastructure project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – a second rail bridge over the Osage River.

The project will eliminate the last bottleneck on the eastern segment of the St. Louis to Kansas City rail corridor that sometimes causes delays for freight and Amtrak trains between Jefferson City and St. Louis.

The agreement was made following extensive negotiations between MoDOT, UP, Governor Jay Nixon’s Office and several other agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration.

Don’t look for dirt to start flying quite yet though. MoDOT and UP will need to develop the construction plan before work can begin. Construction is expected to begin this fall, but prolonged flooding could push the start date into the spring.

This project, along with others Missouri has received funding for, will continue to alleviate remaining bottlenecks that cause congestion on the state’s major rail corridor. In turn, these improvements will make rail transportation safer and more reliable with a greater capacity for delivering both passengers and freight.

Missouri Teen Battles Distracted Driving With Her Song

Kori Caswell
A Missouri Teen has won second place in a national contest focused on stopping distracted drivers. Kori Caswell, 17, of Hannibal, shared a life-saving message in her song "On the Road, You Can Make Or Break Your Dreams" as part of the Ford Driving Skills for Life "Belt It Out" song contest.

Hear Kori's winning song and check out the other winners at She received a $3,000 savings bond as her prize.

The contest involved 520,000 public votes and final judging by Shawn Wilson, president of Usher's New Look Foundation. The public selected the five finalists on, and Wilson chose the first, second and third-place winners.

Congratulations Kori!