Monday, April 22, 2013

Monster Trucks: Hugenormous Edition

So, say you have some natural gas lying around and you want to extract hydrocarbon liquids from it. 

You're going to need a demethanizer tower. Problem is, those towers are huge and must be built in one shot. On site assembly of smaller parts isn't possible. 

How do you get it from the manufacturing plant to your site?

You call an oversize/overweight load specialty motor carrier. These pros work with MoDOT to determine a safe route, design a trailer/tire layout that distributes the weight evenly and ensure the load can safely travel all the bridges, exits and corners on the route.

In many cases, the carrier also contacts the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Troopers assist in escorting the largest and/or most complicated movements. 

This demethanizer load was 12' wide, 15' 3" tall and 240' long
from bumper to bumper. (A football field is 300' long.)
From centuries-old houses to manufacturing equipment to wind turbine elements, MoDOT and the Patrol have assisted in thousands of safe trips.  

It takes time, patience and some expense to arrange such a move, but it sure beats trying to build a demethanizer tower from scratch!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Work Zone Safety - From a Widow's Perspective

A plea - from the wife of Dennis Beard, who was killed in an Illinois work zone in 2012. Let her words sound in your ears any time you see construction or flashing yellow lights.

This (click to see photos) is my husband, Dennis. The most important part of his life was his family and friends. Second was his work. Dennis was very passionate about his work, the people who worked for him, and their safety and well being. On May 22nd Dennis, his nephews Kory Links and Adam Evans, and his friend Brian Moore were all struck by a vehicle while doing their jobs. Dennis was killed by this driver whom was driving dangerously and erratically at a high rate of speed in a construction zone. Dennis was not killed instantly, but lived a very short while, alert and thinking he was going to survive. Because of one person's negligence, Dennis' precious life was taken from us and the lives of his family have been changed forever.

I cannot explain the devastation this has caused our family. We lost our dear Dennis - a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a great-uncle, a cousin, and a friend to many, many people. If you just try to imagine what it would be like to have to come home and tell your children who walk in the door smiling that their dad was just killed at work - you would think about how IMPORTANT it is to pay attention and slow down in work zones. Our family will never be the same because of the constant pain we feel and the huge hole we now have in our family and hearts.

Please let me tell you a little bit about Dennis. Most importantly, Dennis was not ready to leave this earth. He had many things left unfinished. He has three children - Tessa age 12, James 8, and Alayna 4. He just recently involved his children and nephews in go-kart racing. Dennis spent every waking hour outside of work working on the go-karts for the next following week’s race. He loved the outdoors and wanted his kids to love it too. He took them boating, camping, hunting, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, racing, and most recently they began fishing together. Dennis had a big heart and was always very giving to everyone he knew and met.

The single most important thing that you can do for our family and other families who have loved ones working on the roads is to be patient, pay attention, and slow down in construction zones. Everyone wants their loved ones to return home every single day from work. My husband left for work and was gone from this earth three hours later. We didn’t even have a chance to say good bye.

Josie Beard

See pictures of Dennis, Josie and their family here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Work Zone Safety - Why It's a Big Deal

April 15-19 is Work Zone Awareness Week for 2013.

We tend to think EVERY week is Work Zone Awareness Week at MoDOT. Just like everyone else, we want to get home safe at the end of our workday. We'll do whatever it takes to help make that happen.

In our work, we see too many times what happens when someone behaves in an unsafe manner. We've been called to thousands of crash scenes to help direct traffic while emergency crews and law enforcement assist injured motorists.

We've been the first to respond when a car or truck slams into one of our dump trucks. We've called 911 or *55 when an inattentive driver plows into the back of someone observing a slower work zone speed limit. We've held the hands of our dying coworkers and promised to relay their messages of love to their spouses and families.

That's why it's a big deal.

Now that you know the impact of unsafe behavior, we hope you make safe driving in work zones - and everywhere else - a big deal.

Monday, April 15, 2013

In His Own Words: Help Us Make it Home

Clifton Scott's story is riveting. 

Clifton worked for MoDOT a long time, starting with our highway crews. He was very upset by a work zone crash that occurred in 2001 and in an interview with KMBC TV- 9 of Kansas City, he issued a plea to motorists.

Last fall, as he worked the scene of a crash as a Motorist Assist operator, a speeding driver struck and killed Clifton. 

His haunting words serve as a reminder. 

When you see a highway worker - or a utility crew member, law enforcement, tow truck operators or anyone else rendering service on or near a road - pay extra attention. Take extra care. 

Do it out of kindness. Do it because you respect their service. Do it because you know that they, like you, just want to make it home.