Feb. 17, 2012
TAC updated on MoDOT’s reorganization plan, bridge program
ST. JAMES—The Meramec Region Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) was updated on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) reorganization plan and bridge improvement program during its Feb. 9 meeting at the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC).
Travis Koestner, MoDOT Central District assistant district engineer, reviewed MoDOT’s Bolder Five-Year Direction, which requires operational cuts to save the organization $512 million over five years with an additional $117 million saved each year thereafter.
Koestner said MoDOT has been working on its 1,200-personnel reduction, noting the professional level staff has been selected and the technician level staff is still being determined. MoDOT personnel were required to reapply for their current positions or positions that became available through the reorganization process. Some 900 employees have already left voluntarily and through retirement.
MoDOT also plans to reduce its equipment by 744 pieces. Counties and cities would have the first opportunity to bid to purchase the equipment. MoDOT will distribute information on the process in March, Koestner said.
As defined by the plan, MoDOT is also closing 135 maintenance buildings and moving staff and equipment to other facilities.
Preston Kramer, MoDOT Central District area engineer, gave an update on the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program.
Kramer explained the program scheduled the repair of 802 bridges in five years and is currently a year ahead of schedule. A total of 19 bridges will be replaced in the Meramec Region in 2012. (See related sidebar.)
Kramer said the best tool with the most updated bridge information is located on MoDOT’s website at www.modot.gov and then clicking on the link to the Safe & Sound Bridge Program at www.modot.org/safeandsound/index.htm. An interactive map is located on this page with weekly updates on the program.
Kramer demonstrated how to use the map, which displays items such as bridges completed, bridges scheduled for construction within the next three and 12 months, road closures, detours, and more.
MoDOT has been in contact with school districts regarding the bridge repairs and the public, companies, schools, emergency responders and others can sign up for e-updates on the construction. MoDOT also tries to have message boards at the bridge site at least one week prior to construction to give notice of bridge repairs, Kramer said.
Executive Director Bonnie Prigge discussed the first meeting of the MRPC Coalition for Roadway Safety Subcommittee.
The Central District has supplied the subcommittee with funding for the next six months to assist in its goal of increasing roadway safety to reduce the number of roadway fatalities within the Meramec Region, Prigge said.
The current challenge is to build the group and make connections within communities. Prigge informed TAC members that while roadway fatalities across the state have declined, the Meramec Region’s fatality rates have risen in the past year. Some 57 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in the eight-county area in 2011 compared to 38 in 2010.
In order to promote the Arrive Alive message, staff plans to present the Buckle Buddy program to area students, use promotional items, give presentations and be present at local events.
“Last year, the information reached 1,700 students, and we hope to reach even more this year,” Prigge said.
Funding will be available to the region’s schools for Project Graduation and docu-drama programs. The grant application, available on MRPC’s website at www.meramecregion.org, has a deadline of March 2.
In other business, the TAC:
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) plans to repair 802 of Missouri’s bridges in five years through the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program. For 2012, a total of 19 bridges will be replaced in the Meramec Region’s counties of Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington.
For more information on bridge construction and detour routes using state highways, visit MoDOT’s website at www.modot.org and click on Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program link for an interactive look at the Safe & Sound Bridge Program. You can also contact MoDOT Central District Engineer Preston Kramer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travis Koestner, Central District assistant district engineer, second from left, provides an update on MoDOT’s Bolder Five-Year Direction to the TAC. MoDOT members present from left include: Jennifer Jones, Central District Planning MoDOT – BRO and SRTS, Koestner, Preston Kramer, Central District area engineer, and Josh Kincaid, Central District assistant area engineer. Not pictured: Steve Engelbrecht, Central District planning manager, and Dion Knipp, Central District Planning MoDOT – BRO and SRTS.