MRPC News Release

Feb. 17, 2012
For immediate release
For more information, contact:           
            Bonnie J. Prigge, (573) 265-2993

TAC updated on MoDOT’s reorganization plan, bridge program
MRPC Coalition for Roadway Safety Subcommittee creates action plan

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:


• Heard an update from Kramer who informed the committee that construction for the final round of Safe & Sound bridge projects in the region would begin this month. Kramer also reminded members to contact MoDOT for right-of-way access permits to state roads prior to new development in the region.


• Heard a report from Josh Kincaid, Central District assistant area engineer, who stated MoDOT maintenance and chip and seal projects would begin soon. The main project this summer is replacing pavement on Route 63, north of Rolla to the Maries County line.


Persons needing more information on MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee may contact MRPC at (573) 265-2993. The group will meet again at 4 p.m. April 12, 2012. Meetings are open to the public.


Sidebar:
Eleven bridge replacement projects set to begin for Meramec Region

            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.
            MoDOT will begin construction on 11 bridges within the next three months. The Safe & Sound bridge construction schedule for the next three months in the region is as follows:

Crawford:
• Bridge on Route N over Bourbon River will be replaced. Work to begin April 16, 2012 with the road closed for 31 days.
• Bridge on Route BB over Cherry Valley Creek will be replaced. Work to begin March 1, 2012 with the road closed for 45 days.
Dent:  
• Bridge on Route NN over Dry Fork to be replaced. Work to begin April 30, 2012 with the road closed for 48 days.
• Bridge on Route H over Dry Fork to be replaced. Work to begin April 23, 2012 with the road closed for 46 days.
Gasconade:
• Bridge on Route W over Puncheon Creek to be replaced. Work to begin April 30, 2012 with the road closed for 45 days.
Maries:
Bridge on Route BB over Little Maries River to be replaced. Work to begin Feb. 27, 2012 with the road closed for 36 days.
• Bridge on Route A over Spring Creek to be replaced. Work to begin April 23, 2012 with the road closed for 53 days.
• Bridge on Route 28 over Dry Fork Creek to be replaced. Work to begin Feb. 20, 2012 with the road closed for 49 days.
Osage:
Bridge on Route 133 over Sugar Creek to be replaced. Work to begin March 5, 2012 with the road closed for 44 days.
• Bridge on Route K over Doolings Creek to be replaced. Work to begin March 12, 2012 with the road closed for 45 days.
Phelps:
Bridge on Route JJ over Norman Creek to be replaced. Work to begin May 7, 2012 with the road closed for 45 days.
Pulaski & Washington:
No work scheduled within the next three months.

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 preston.kramer@modot.mo.gov.

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.

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