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 www.modot.org/flooding 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.