October 8, 2015

Central Office

Kansas City
St. Louis

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Commission Summary

Two leaders of the Missouri General Assembly, both of whom are outspoken advocates for adequate transportation funding, appeared before the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission yesterday during its monthly meeting in Poplar Bluff.

House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) said, “We need a 21st-century road network to take advantage of our state’s geography and our roads, rivers and railroads.”

Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff), who is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, had similar sentiments. “Missouri is the crossroads of America,” he said, “and transportation is a great economic development tool for us. But with the funding struggle, how are we going to continue to attract new businesses and allow existing business to thrive and expand?”

He added that because of the time it takes to plan, design and construct highway and bridge projects, a long-term, predictable funding solution is needed.

Commission Chairman Steve Miller told both legislators that the Commission looks forward to working with them during the legislative session that begins in January.

Also in attendance were Rep. Don Rone (R-Portageville), Rep. Steve Cookson
(R-Poplar Bluff), Senator Gary Romine (R-Farmington) and staffers for U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt.


Critical Condition Bridges – State Bridge Engineer Dennis Heckman and Southeast District Area Engineer Dave Wyman described for the Commission the local impacts that “critical-condition” bridges can have on communities.

Heckman explained the bridge rating system, where a new bridge is a ‘9’ and a closed bridge is a ‘2.’ In MoDOT’s nomenclature, condition 3 and 4 bridges are considered to be in critical condition. There are 101 such bridges in the Southeast District and 641 statewide – 50 more than a year ago.

Following a lane reduction and weight restriction on the Route 19 bridge over Sinking Creek in Shannon County, a temporary bridge was put into place in May 2015.

Wyman described how each is important to the area it serves:

  • Route 19 over Sinking Creek in Shannon County – crucial to the local logging industry.
  • Route Z in Stoddard County – five critical condition bridges on this route that are vital to support local agriculture and provide access to the Bootheel’s only rice mill.
  • Route 91 in Stoddard County – also has multiple critical condition bridges that are important to agriculture, access to the SEMO port and healthcare services for area residents.
  • Route 49 in Wayne County – an 86-year old bridge ensures necessary access to a granite quarry at Gad’s Hill.
  • Business 60 in Poplar Bluff – a bridge in town is important to local schools and emergency services.
  • Route 51 Chester Bridge over the Mississippi River – the aging structure is important to businesses on both sides of the river. If it were to be closed, an 88-mile detour is required.

Heckman told the Commission that to get ahead of the curve, MoDOT should be replacing more than 100 bridges per year; however, available resources are allowing only 30-40 annual bridge projects.

Public Presentations
– Scott Spencer, president of First Community Bank and a member of the Highway 67 Corporation, called for MoDOT to take the lead to four-lane the last 12 miles of U.S. Route 67 from south of Poplar Bluff to Arkansas.

He noted the 50 miles that had been completed since 2005 from Fredericktown to Poplar Bluff were made possible by passage of a one-half-cent sales tax by local voters.

Chairman Miller said, “Poplar Bluff worked hand-in-hand with us. They deserve to be applauded for that. It certainly gets our attention with our limited funds when a community finds a way to make a project happen.”

Jeff Cowen, presiding commissioner of Shannon County, thanked MoDOT and the Commission for the installation of a temporary bridge over Sinking Creek on Route 19. He called for a permanent replacement, and planning and programming of replacement of two additional nearby bridges, as soon as possible. Route 19 in the Eminence area serves Round Springs State Park, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and a new state park under construction.

Consideration of Bids for Transportation Improvements
State Design Engineer Eric Schroeter reported to the Commission the results of the September 25 bid opening. MoDOT received 65 bids on 18 calls. The Commission awarded contracts to the low bidders on all but three projects (in Butler, Callaway and Cass Counties) where bids were deemed to be excessive. Action on one project was delayed pending receipt of additional information.

Planning and Environmental Studies
– Schroeter described the processes that must be followed in order to have projects ready to deliver when funds are available. He said there is a need to provide a balance between taking care of the existing system and being prepared to deliver strategic major projects.


Donate Your Hours to ShareLeave
New Options for Foster or Adopted Child Leave

Employee annual leave hours hit their maximum accrual limits at the end of October. If you will not be able to get below your maximum accrued amount, please consider helping your fellow employees by donating to MoDOT’s ShareLeave Program. Donated hours remain with MoDOT and provide additional paid sick leave to eligible MoDOT employees who have exhausted all of their accrued leave time due to an illness or injury that is life threatening, catastrophic, or resulting in a potential permanent disability.

shareleaveThe department manages an Employee Pool for an employee’s medical condition and a Family Pool for an employee’s family medical condition. Starting this month, the ShareLeave program has added a third leave sharing option for purposes of foster or adopted child placement or care after placement. Recently passed Missouri legislation created this new program.

Employees can now donate annual leave hours to the Foster and Adoptive Placement and Care Pool. Employees who have exhausted their accrued leave time can apply for ShareLeave for items including appointments, court proceedings, travel, training and other time needed related to becoming a foster parent or adopting a child.

The form to donate your annual leave hours to ShareLeave is available on the Human Resources Division SharePoint site. Please note the form allows you to designate donated hours to the Employee, Family or Foster and Adoptive Placement ShareLeave pools. Click Here for the forms.

In 2014, employees donated 3,235.45 hours to ShareLeave to keep the program with a healthy balance. This generosity by MoDOT employees helped 15 employees in 2014 continue to receive a paycheck during their time of need.

MoDOT Employees Participate in Illinois Infrastructure Security Conference
Marisa ellison
Marisa Ellison, communications manager for the Northeast District, discusses crisis communication with attendees at the Infrastructure Security Conference in Peoria, Illinois.
Our neighbors to the east recently held an Infrastructure Security Conference in Peoria bringing together about 100 Illinois Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol and Department of Natural Resources employees to learn about various practices to improve incident management.

Marisa Ellison, communications manager for the Northeast District, and Owen Hasson, Incident Management for the St. Louis District, were guest presenters.

Marisa shared information on crisis communication and the importance of taking the time to plan your communications, citing a case study from 2006 when a cave was discovered under a highway project.

Owen shared some of the incidents he and his team deal with on a regular basis, as well as insight to civil disobedience and the effect the activities in Ferguson has had on MoDOT operations and its employees.

EAC Blurb

Emergency Funds Provided for Flood
Damaged Roads
flood map
One of the graphics MoDOT used on social media to keep the public informed on road closures during extreme flooding earlier this year.
The Federal Highway Administrator recently announced the release of $1 million in federal emergency relief funds to MoDOT to help with repairs to the state’s highway system due to extreme flooding earlier this year. Bridges and roads throughout the state have been damaged from landslides, erosion and scouring, and many culverts have been washed out. In total, 76 of Missouri’s 114 counties received damage to state roads and bridges.

The greatest immediate need is in the Northeast and Kansas City areas and these immediate funds will be used to work on their high priority needs.

MoDOT will continue to address the repairs statewide and will continue to pursue funding for the locations with major damage.

You can read FHWA’s news release here -

New Medical Plan Option FAQs

More Frequently Asked Questions on the New High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA) option.

Employees are encouraged to review all of FAQs and other information on the website at and attend one of the workshops being held in the districts and central office to see if this new plan would be beneficial for you. You can also contact employee benefits staff at 877-863-9406.

FAQs for MedicalQ. Is there a separate prescription drug deductible such as in the traditional PPO plan?

A. No, the prescription and the medical deductibles are shared.

Q. If I have accumulated over $2,000 in the HSA account and elect to invest those funds over the $2,000, what happens if my account goes below $2,000 because
I have claimed qualified expenses?

A. You would have to liquidate some of the money invested in order to get back to the $2,000 level.

Q. If I have a claim in February for $1,000 but only have $250 in my HSA, can I collect the fully $1,000 to pay my claim?
A. No, you cannot exceed the balance in your account as it is a debit card and would reject? Your available balance will always show on the Health Equity web portal.

Q. Can you contribute a check to Health Equity mid-year after you realize you did not set your monthly deductions high enough to take care of the expenses you incurred?

A. Yes, as long as you stay below the IRS annual limit.

Q. How do you realize a tax savings when you are making your contribution on-line or sending the deposit to Health Equity?
A. You would not realize the tax savings until you file your taxes the next year.

buckle up

Missouri High Schools Challenged to
Drive Safe and Buckle Up

Safe Driving Campaign Educates to Save Teen Lives

LogoCalling all Missouri high schools to compete in the 2015 "It Only Takes One" campaign for an opportunity to win prizes for your school while educating young drivers about safe driving habits and safety belt use. Sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and ACT Missouri, the statewide competition will run from October 1 to the end of the school year.

It's important that young drivers realize it only takes one text, one drink, one call, one reach, one distraction to cause one fatal moment but that one clicked safety belt could be the difference between life or death in a car crash.

"Six out of ten young drivers and passengers killed in 2014 Missouri vehicle traffic crashes weren't buckled up," said Bill Whitfield, executive committee chair for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "Through education, competition and fun, the ‘It Only Takes One' campaign can make a difference with young Missourians and save lives."

Young drivers are over represented in crashes both nationwide and in Missouri. Although comprising only eight percent of Missouri's licensed drivers, they were involved in 17 percent of the 2014 fatal and serious injury crashes. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15-20 years old. Research indicates that driver distractions are the primary cause of fatal collisions. In addition, one of the greatest risk factors faced by young drivers is the number of passengers in the vehicle. Studies have confirmed that with the presence of just one passenger, young drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Also, results of a 2015 survey among Missouri young drivers indicate that 31 percent are not wearing safety belts.  Read More.


What's Happening

Deferred CompOctober Deferred
Compensation Update

The advice to start saving early is certainly wise. In fact, the sooner you start saving something, anything, the better off you will be.

Watch this month's video from Missouri's Deferred Compensation staff. They recently visited MOSERS'
Pre-Retirement seminars to see what advice those nearing retirement had for newer state employees. Here what they had to say - October Deferred Comp.


freight logoHaunting Fun this Fall at
Missouri’s Amusement Parks

Six Flags and Worlds of Fun are offering state employees big discounts on
tickets this fall. There’s something for the whole family as these parks deck
out for spooky fun. Click on the flyer below for all the details on dates and
discounts – Theme Park Discounts.

October Service Anniversaries

30 Years

Donald Ingram Standley - NW
Rodney M. Martin – NW
John W. Gabathuler - CD
Leroy E. Bauer - CD
Kelly R. Hensen - SL
Julie Ann Zibert - SW
Lonnie D. Chambers - SE

25 Years
Kathy Jean Tripp – NW
Timmy E. Lake – NE
Michael J. Tourney – NE
Donald Eugene Klaus – KC
Robert Ray Lawrence – SW
Charles Andrew White – SW

20 Years
Brenda Sue Hughes – NW
Dan M. Fox – NE
Keith F. Rush – KC
Chad E. Baldwin – KC
Melissa Renee Black – KC
Michael N. Adams – SW

20 Years Continued
Deidre K. Berry – SW

Randy Lee Patterson – SW
Dwayne C. Severs – SW

Jaylyn Ann O'Connor – SW
Steven Thomas Markham – SW
Brad L. Cook – SE
Dale D. Wright – SE
Jeffrey Eugene Payne – SE
Melissa Ann Wilbers – CO
Donna H. Schmitz – CO
Steven A. Sanning – CO
Shawn D. McKee – CO

15 Years
Jimmie D. Martin – NW
Kevin M. Haner – NE
Clinton W. Tillitt – NE
Rebel Jess Walker – KC
Terry James Talley – SL
Mitchell A. Davis – SW
Duane E. Fish – SE
Deborah Lynn Hill – CO
Rebecca Lynn Jackson – CO
Amy Kathleen Binkley – CO

10 Years

Jason Wayne Sears – NE
Donald Lee Hall – KC
Damon Sheridan B. Rinehart – KC
Andrew Lee Dobnikar – KC
Jamey Asahl – CD
Kevin W. Blankenship – CD
Ronnie G. Pyatt – CD
Anthony D. Archer – SL
Melinda Ann Lawrence – SL
Donald Ray Dipley – SW
Alan Dwayne Hooper – SW
Anthony W. Bennett – SE
Justin L. Adey – SE
Tonya Renea Doyel – CO
Leann Glanel Kleffner – CO
Marisa Jade Kling – CO

5 Years
Jamie R. Mathes – NE
Joshua Cody Chapman – KC
Randall Lavance Ewing – KC
Gregory Kurt Giedinghagen – KC
Matthew R. Kidder – KC
William John Lutgen – KC
Tiesun Tejay Hochlan – SL
David Lynn Kaercher – SL
Richard A. Kelley - SE


Our mission is to provide a world-class transportation experience that delights our customers and promotes a prosperous Missouri.
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