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Please feel free to ask questions, express concerns or offer suggestions. MoDOT will make a concerted effort to offer a reply to all reasonable comments to the blog. Comments will be screened by MoDOT, and those comments which do not meet up with MoDOT's blog use policy will not be posted.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Need a Job? MoDOT is Hiring!




By Linda Wilson Horn; Assistant to the District Engineer

Looking for a new job or a career change?  We may have the right opportunity for you.  MoDOT’s St. Louis District is hiring.  If you’re looking for diverse opportunities, challenging and purposeful work and a family friendly work environment, come join our team.  MoDOT is recognized as one of the top departments of transportation in the country.

The MoDOT St. Louis office includes 700 employees located over the four metro counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson as well as the City of St. Louis.  Currently there are open positions for seasonal and full-time maintenance workers and bridge maintenance, and civil engineers.  We also employ people with backgrounds in equipment mechanics, electricians, surveyors, property acquisition, finance, safety, human resources and information systems.  Applications for employment are accepted on a continuing basis and will be kept in our system for up to six months for applicable open positions.

For full-time and seasonal maintenance workers, MoDOT requires applicants be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma and possess a Class A or B Commercial Driver’s License with interstate designated status and no airbrake restrictions.

Civil engineering positions at MoDOT provide you with many career paths and opportunities in the areas of bridge, design, construction, materials, traffic, planning, maintenance and research.  In your career at MoDOT, civil engineers can pursue experiences in any or all of these areas.  Entry level engineering positions require a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering.

The benefits of being a state employee include more than pay.  New employees can earn up to three weeks of annual leave and three weeks of sick leave each year, twelve paid holidays, medical insurance, educational assistance, opportunity for overtime and vesting in the state retirement system after five years of employment.

MoDOT is an equal opportunity employer.  We are committed to equal employment opportunities without regard to age, race, creed, religion, sex, national origin or disability status. If you are interested in employment at MoDOT, please visit our website at www.modot.org/jobs.




Monday, July 9, 2018

Parterning Helps MoDOT Stretch Funding Dollars


By Andy Tuerck, MoDOT's St. Charles County Area Engineer


“Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”  At least that’s what legendary coach Vince Lombardi said and that is so true when it comes to building roads and bridges in Missouri.  Sometimes MoDOT can’t do it alone so we partner with local cities and counties to get projects done.

Partnering can be done in several ways and thanks in part to St. Charles County’s ½ cent transportation sales tax; it’s something very common in St. Charles County. 

One of the ways we partner together is through the statewide cost-share program.  The program is specifically designed to build partnerships by pooling resources to deliver state highway and bridge projects.  MoDOT allocates a specific amount of funding for cost-share projects across the state and local governments apply for that funding.  The new interchange being built at Route 61 and Route P/Peine Road is a cost-share project with the $15 million project being paid for by MoDOT, St. Charles County and the city of Wentzville.  The I-70 Traffic Flow Improvement project that just started in O’Fallon is another cost-share project with the cost being shared by MoDOT and the city of O’Fallon. 

Cost participation projects are similar to cost-share projects except that MoDOT’s share of the funding comes from money already allocated to the local district.  The I-70 and Fifth Street project came about when the county came up with a plan to make improvements at Fifth Street.  MoDOT contributed $1 million in funds for the rebuilding of the Fairgrounds Road overpass so improvements could be made at both interchanges.  Another example of a cost participation project is the upcoming project to build ramps at Gutermuth and Route 364.


MoDOT is also partnering with St. Charles County on the upcoming Route N study.  The study will look at what improvements could be made between Interstate 64 and David Hoekel Parkway to improve safety, congestion and traffic flow.  Making improvements to Route N is a priority for St. Charles County, but due to funding constraints MoDOT has not been able to prioritize the route to keep up with the explosive growth of the county.  Since Route N is a state maintained road, MoDOT agreed to conduct the study if the county would pay for it. 

These different partnerships are important to MoDOT not only because of the improvements to state owned roads, but also the opportunity to maintain relationships with local governments.  Those relationships are vital to the future of the state’s transportation system and help the local community by improving the transportation system as a whole.


Projects funded through partnering - (upper left) I-70 and Fifth Street;
Route 364 Page Phase 3, (upper right)Route 364/Page Phase 3 and
(bottom) Route 61 at Route P/Peine Road.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Just Build It Already!


By Lou Creamer, MoDOT St. Louis Transportation Planner




The DRAFT Statewide Transportation
Improvement Program for 2019-2023
Why don’t they just add another lane?  When are they going to fix my road?   Why don’t they just put a signal at this intersection?  These are all valid questions when it comes to state maintained roads and bridges.

 

As MoDOT employees, we understand that your tax money is valuable.  We don’t take lightly the responsibility of being a steward of the taxpayer dollars you pay and that’s why there is a process in place to make sure we get the best projects for the dollars we have.

 

The process is started after a need is identified either by a local government, MoDOT’s planning committee or the public (yes, we do read and listen to your comments).  The need is then studied, or “scoped” as we call it, to see what the problem is and explore the best possible solution.

 

Plans are developed and costs are analyzed to find the most cost effective way to move forward.  Projects are then reviewed, prioritized and placed in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.  The STIP, as we call it, covers a five year period and is updated every year.  The STIP is then put out for public comment.  In fact, the newest draft STIP is out for comment right now.  We want to know the public’s thoughts and concerns about the projects and needs in their area.

 

Comments are then presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for review before they approve the final STIP at the July 11 meeting. 

 

To comment on the current draft STIP, go to http://www.modot.org/plansandprojects/construction_program/DRAFT_STIP2019-2023/index.htm.  The comment period ends July 6.

 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Littering is a growing problem - It's time to change that

By Assistant District Engineer Mark Croarkin




Trash on our state roads and/or right-of-way is a growing problem in Missouri. It impairs public health, pollutes the environment and can even lead to crashes on the highways.


Each year, MoDOT spends more than $5 million to clear litter along Missouri highways. In the St. Louis region, over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the volume of trash left on our roadway system.


Cleaning the trash off the highways has become an issue that maintenance crews alone cannot keep under control.  There has been one instance where crews from a single maintenance building picked up more than 1300 bags of trash in one week. To offset that, MoDOT offers an Adopt-A-Highway program that provides volunteers the opportunity to select an area that they will commit to pick up litter at least four times a year. 


Everyone can make a difference by educating friends, neighbors and co-workers. Loose trash is more likely to end up on the roadways than bagged trash. Simple acts such as bagging trash at home, work or community events can account to saving millions of dollars and a far more attractive region.


When driving, never let trash escape from the car. Keep it contained in a bag inside of the vehicle. Help create a culture where people speak up when they see someone with loose trash or an unsecured load on a truck.


Littering is illegal and law enforcement is on the watch out for offenders. The act can lead to a class A misdemeanor with a $1000 fine and up to one year imprisonment.


Come and join the journey to making a cleaner and healthier Missouri by eliminating litter. For more information on how to get involved, please visit www.nomoretrash.org.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Road Damage Claims - Not Just from Potholes

By Keri Essien
Senior Risk Management Technician




Potholes, debris and aliens – oh my! Those are just some of the damage claims turned into the MoDOT St. Louis risk management department.  The department receives between four and 30 claims a day for incidents on Missouri roads.  The common complaints damage caused by potholes, road debris, falling signs, signal malfunctions and wet striping paint but one of the more bizarre cases involved a customer who reported an unidentified flying object struck her vehicle on an open stretch of I-70 in 2016.  MoDOT unfortunately had to deny any liability for the phenomenon.


 


MoDOT’s liability is based on Missouri Revised Statute 537.600 which states MoDOT is not legally liable for a hazard unless it had sufficient time and knowledge to have taken measures to protect against it.  In other words, MoDOT must determine an accident was caused by willful negligence in order for a customer to be reimbursed for expenses.  In 2017, MoDOT paid   approximately $3.2 million for 222 claims statewide.


 


Most people are surprised to learn they have the right to file claims for damage.  The claims process reflects MoDOT’s transparent approach to customer service.  Claims can be filed online and are analyzed, processed and submitted to a Jefferson City claims adjuster for investigation.  Customers usually receive a response within 48 hours.  The one difference is for claims in construction zones, which are sent to the contractor for investigation.


 


As long as there are roads and customers to travel on them, we can assume that liability claims will keep life at MoDOT busy and a little amusing.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Avoid distractions and buckle up when driving through work zones.

Mark Fresen, a former MoDOT employee struck and injured in a work zone on I-270, speaks at the 2018 Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff event in St. Louis.

By Tom Blair, P.E.
MoDOT St. Louis District Engineer


(April 8-14 is National Work Zone Awareness Week, a campaign to remind drivers to slow down and avoid distractions while driving through any work zone.)


It’s spring in St. Louis.  It’s been a wild ride this year – In the last month, we had a lot of rain, followed by a snow or two in April. Despite the weather, we have a lot of work zones this year, and many of them are along the I-44 corridor.


We have a lot of work scheduled on I-44 and several other roadways this year, and we want to make sure people remember that they need to pay attention every time they travel through one.  It is easy to become complacent when we drive through a work zone every day, but we really shouldn’t.  Work zones can change – from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next.


And it doesn’t matter which side of the river you are on – when it comes to work zones, whether you are in Illinois or Missouri, we are all on the same team.  No one wins if there is a crash in a work zone. For the past year, MoDOT has been encouraging drivers to wear their seat belt and put down their phone while driving.  Both of these habits can help keep you, and us, safer as you drive, especially when you travel with work zones. I encourage you strongly to take the Buckle Up/Phone Down Challenge. 


We’ll have work zones on almost every interstate this year. We have work on I-44 from the Poplar Street Bridge all the way to the Crawford County line, including several bridges in and just outside St. Louis City.  We also have a major project coming up on I-270 near I-70 that will require several lanes to be closed around the clock. At night, we’ll have resurfacing projects on I-270 and on I-44.  You can see more specifics on some of the biggest work zones this year here by clicking this link.


Paying attention to work zones is important because it helps prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities. For instance, in the last year:


  • In 2017, 13 people  were killed in work zone crashes on state roads and an additional three on local roads, for a total of 16 fatalities. One  of those fatalities was in St. Louis.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, 50 people were killed in work zone crashes on state roads and an additional six on local roads, for a total of 43 fatalities. 11 of them were in the St. Louis area.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, 2,844 people were injured in Missouri work zones on state roads and an additional 965 on local roads, for a total of 3,809 injuries.
  • Since 2000, 19 MoDOT employees have been killed in the line of duty, 13 in work zones.
  • The best defense in a work zone crash, or any crash, is a seat belt. In 2017, nearly two-thirds of the people who were killed in crashes were NOT wearing a seat belt.


We believe that one fatality on Missouri roads is too many, but we cannot reach our goal of zero roadway deaths by ourselves. We need your help.


As you are driving, please watch out for us. If you see flashing lights ahead of you, please be prepared to slow down or move over. Many of work zones on our roads are the short-term work zones where our crews are repairing roadways, patching potholes, mowing or cleaning trash.  These slow-moving work zones can show up on almost any roadway at almost any time.  These operations travel at about 10 miles per hour. You can quickly approach a lane closed for road work if you aren’t paying attention.


Our crews work hard to help keep you safe. By slowing down and moving over, you can help keep us safe.  We are all in this together – together we can ensure drivers on both sides of the river and our crews – go home safely at the end of every day.


You can also help by using the Traveler Information Map before you travel, and by filling out our on-line work zone report cards to let crews know how they’re doing. Work Zone Awareness is about keeping MoDOT crews and motorists safe.


 


Monday, March 19, 2018

Construction, construction -- everywhere construction!


Construction on the I-64 bridge over the Mississippi River.
By Michael Castro
St. Louis District Construction and Materials Engineer
So, it’s spring, and construction work zones are springing up on surrounding roads like crabgrass in your lawn – and are almost as welcome.
As we move into the construction season, especially when there are projects that have stopped through the winter, one of the big questions the department is often asked is “why can’t you finish one project before you start another?”
There are several reasons, but the two biggest ones are keeping up with roadway maintenance needs and money.
With more than 33,000 miles of roadway in Missouri and about 1,600 miles of roadway in St. Louis (most of which have multiple lanes), there simply is too much maintenance that would need to be done to keep the roadway in good, safe operational condition without working in several locations.
But as importantly, it would be an ineffective use of the construction forces in the area, and would drive up the cost of construction significantly.
You see, most of the day to day repairs on the roadway – pothole patching, signal or sign repairs and the like – are done with MoDOT maintenance teams.  However, MoDOT typically designs major construction projects and then puts them out for bid to the contracting community – a process called design-bid-build.  MoDOT simply doesn’t have all the specialized equipment needed to complete major construction.  Having several projects working at the same time means that contractor equipment and workers that aren’t needed for one project can move to another and help the construction contractors stay efficient.  Most construction projects have a specific path of construction that needs to be completed – you can’t place the driving surface for a roadway before you have completed the necessary repairs to the support network and fill underneath the roadway.
All construction projects have impacts, and MoDOT does attempt to minimize those impacts as much as possible – or use the impacts from one project to help reduce the impacts of another.  A good example is the work along I-44 in and near St. Louis City.   The bridge repair work between Grand and Kingshighway reduces traffic to three lanes on westbound I-44.  Lane merging causes a significant amount of congestion around construction.  So, having one lane merge back here improves the safety and reduces congestion between the two work zones. However, the department works very hard to avoid putting additional construction on surrounding routes that people may use to detour around the work or the congestion.
There are more impacts from construction than just congestion, especially in an urban area.  Light and sound around construction zones are very impactful in a residential neighborhood.  Working around the clock on construction may save time, but it usually is more expensive (because of the hazards of working at night, even under lights) and the impacts on the community.  MoDOT does look at working at night – especially when the traffic impacts may need to be significant (such as interstate resurfacing work), but that does have to be balanced with the costs, and the impact to the surrounding residents.
The primary goal in all of this is to ensure that all Missourians have a safe and operational transportation system, while still being good stewards of the funding that Missouri has entrusted to the department.
While driving through work zones, remember to slow down to the posted speed limits, avoid distractions – especially cell phones, wear your seat belt and pay attention to the signs around the construction.