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March 26, 2015

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Motorists Reminded to Pay Attention…
Or Pay the Price!
National Work Zone Awareness Week kicked off with a news conference in Jefferson City Monday, March 23. MoDOT Central District Engineer Dave Silvester hosted the event including remarks from MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger, State
WZ1
State Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz reminds motorists to slow down and pay attention in work zones or they could be stopped by an officer. Other speakers at the work zone awareness kickoff included (from left) MoDOT Central District Engineer Dave Silvester, MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger, Associated General Contractors of Missouri President Len Toenjes , State Representative Mike Bernskoetter, and Senior Maintenance Worker Scott Campbell.
Representative Mike Bernskoetter, State Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz and Associated General Contractors of Missouri President Len Toenjes.

Work Zone Awareness Week alerts drivers that highway construction is gearing up and work zones will be cropping up on our highways. But work zones can be slow moving operations like striping roadways, patching potholes and mowing roadsides.

“Our message is simple. Don’t do anything that distracts you from the task at hand or it could mean the difference between a safe trip and a deadly one,” said Hassinger. “Consider this. The average text takes five seconds to read. Traveling at 55 mph, you’ll travel more than the length of a football field without looking at the road.”
Senior Maintenance Worker Scott Campbell from the Jefferson City maintenance facility told his personal story of being struck in a work zone.

In spring 2014, Campbell was driving one of the truck mounted attenuator trucks at the back of a line of vehicles striping Route 50. A motorist approached the work zone and hit the back of Campbell’s TMA at full highway speed. The attenuator did its job and both Campbell and the driver walked away from the incident. The motorist’s vehicle was totaled.

Ed
MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger and Senior Maintenance Worker Scott Campbell discuss work zone safety issues at the work zone awareness kickoff in Jefferson City.

“If I have anything to say to drivers, I want to remind them to pay attention when encountering our work zones. Distracted driving is one of the greatest hazards on my job,” said Campbell. “Whether it’s a sandwich, a cell phone, a text, a book, a tablet, a laptop or whatever, distracted driving could get me hurt some day. Just like drivers, we all have family and friends to go home to.
If we all do our part, we can all arrive alive.”

The number of incidents with motorists striking MoDOT vehicles is increasing. From 2013 to 2014, the number more than doubled from seven crashes in 2013 to 19 in 2014. For more information on work zone awareness, visit www.modot.org/workzones.

Read an interview with MoDOT's own Barrell Bob on the Central Office page of Connections to get his views on work zone safety. All district pages are also featuring work zone articles in this edition.

 

 
View from the Chair
Deferring Maintenance Speeds Decay and Drives Up Cost
“You can pay me now, or pay me later” was how an auto mechanic explained to his customer in an old commercial that he could (1) pay to replace the oil and filter now, or (2) pay a far larger sum for the replacement of the vehicle’s engine later.

That’s exactly the spot in which we find ourselves with Missouri’s roads and bridges. But unfortunately, with insufficient revenue sources, we have no choice but to prioritize where we make our capital investments and that means we are putting off maintenance and other improvements on the remainder of the system that will cost much more down the road.

At a $325 million level of investment, which is all that will be available starting in 2017, MoDOT will be forced to focus its limited funding on taking care of the approximately 8,000 miles of primary roads and bridges that are most critical to Missouri’s needs. While we’ll be able to keep our primary system in good condition, taking care of the supplementary roads – some 26,000 miles – is another story.

Although you may have heard this story before, what you probably don’t realize is that the deterioration in those 26,000 miles of roads and bridges will not occur on a straight-line basis; it will increase geometrically. MoDOT maintains a regular maintenance schedule on its statewide system that attempts to catch small problems that can be fixed relatively inexpensively before they become much larger and more costly issues. Read More.

Agricultural Leader Joins State Highways

and Transportation Commission

Gov. Jay Nixon nominated Michael Thomas (Tom) Waters, of Orrick, to serve on the State Highways and Transportation Commission. The commission works to preserve, enhance, and support the state's transportation system; it also makes and
waters
New Commissioner Michael Thomas Waters has a strong record of leadership in both agriculture and Missouri River issues.
tracks transportation policy and has authority over all state transportation programs and facilities, as provided by law, including bridges, highways, aviation, railroads, public transportation, ports, and waterborne commerce.

Waters, a Republican, is a seventh-generation Missouri farmer who produces corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. He also serves as chairman of the Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association, where he represents levee and drainage districts, businesses and others who have an interest in activities surrounding the Missouri River and its tributaries. Waters is a past president of the Missouri-Arkansas River Basins Association.

In 2011, he was named as Agricultural Leader of the Year by the Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow, and he has testified before Congress on agricultural matters and other topics. Waters holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Missouri and is a graduate of the Executive Program for Agricultural Producers at Texas A&M University.

"Missouri agriculture is a primary user of our state's transportation system, and Tom Waters has a strong record of leadership in both agriculture and Missouri River issues on the state and national levels," Gov. Nixon said. "I am pleased we can put his commitment, experience and knowledge to use on the Highways and Transportation Commission as we address Missouri's near- and long-term transportation challenges and opportunities."

The Governor has nominated Waters for a term ending March 1, 2021.


EAC Blurb

Total Compensation Team Update

Everyone,

Here is the latest update concerning the Total Compensation Team:

During this process, the gathering of employee feedback and comments has been the most important task for our team. In order to make suggestions to senior management and the Commission related to improving MoDOT’s total compensation, our team needed to ensure that we are truly speaking on the behalf of MoDOT employees. Although we continue to receive additional comments, here is a summary of employee participation:

  • teamOver 100 employees volunteered to serve on the Total Compensation Team.
  • Nearly 1,700 documents were received related to employee feedback. A large number of work groups had discussions and sent in a single form for the entire group. We estimate the feedback we received represents about 2,000 employees.
  • Sub-team members also had many face-to-face discussions with employees who did not feel comfortable sending in written feedback. These conversations represented about 350 employees.

Therefore, we are comfortable stating that nearly 50 percent of employees participated in our request for feedback. This is an amazing number.

During the past few weeks, our team leaders have been reading through every feedback form that was submitted. Although this was a tedious task, it was necessary to categorize the main issues employees expressed related to total compensation. The results are very clear – pay and salary are the ultimate concerns that employees expressed.

As our team works to develop suggestions for senior management and the Commission related to improving MoDOT’s total compensation, we will continue to discuss other topics mentioned in the feedback. However, our primary focus will be related to suggestions for improving MoDOT’s salary structure.

On behalf of the Total Compensation Team and all of our sub-team members, thank you for taking the time to send us your comments. We will continue to send updates when available.

Jerad Noland, P.E.
Northeast District Design Engineer
Office (573) 406 – 6548
Jerad.Noland@modot.mo.gov

 
MoDOT Director Testifies Before Congress

On Tuesday, March 24, MoDOT Director Dave Nichols appeared before a Senate Committee in Washington, DC to testify on behalf of MoDOT and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) regarding performance management.

Nichols’ primary focus was Missouri’s and other states’ efforts to measure performance and the impact it has on transportation departments. With Tracker, Missouri’s quarterly performance management report, Nichols reported that MoDOT has spent the last 10 years within a performance-based culture.

Dave
MoDOT Director Dave Nichols appeared before a Senate Committee in Washington, DC to testify on performance management.

“MoDOT has used its performance management system to create a results-focused culture among its employees,” said Nichols during the testimony. “Performance goals and results may change over time, but I’m confident our system will remain tightly woven into MoDOT’s organizational fabric.”

Like MoDOT, state departments of transportation across the country are already implementing performance management concepts. Nichols testified that all states have implemented some aspect of performance management. Colorado, North Carolina, Utah, Minnesota, and Maryland have created programs to manage their physical assets and focus on the principles of transportation asset management as opposed to a “worst-first” approach. Many other states have well-known performance management programs that go far beyond the management of physical assets.

Nichols also discussed the challenges of implementing national performance management requirements. There is a cost to implementation, and those are funds that would be directed away from critical projects and programs. There is also difficulty in “minimum condition” requirements for conditions, when funding is so uncertain. A third challenge is target setting. With so many variables from state to state – funding levels, environmental conditions, population growth trends, legislative and gubernatorial priorities, it may be difficult to establish appropriate targets that take into account each state’s unique situation.

Nichols was one of four speakers to testify during the hearing. He concluded his remarks and took questions from the committee members, all of whom recognized the challenges and successes for the nation’s transportation departments.

 
Transportation Engineers Association of Missouri (TEAM) Holds Annual Conference
in St. Louis
Over 500 professionals from across the state gathered in St. Louis on March 11-13 for the annual TEAM Conference. The conference provided a great opportunity for attendees to collaborate with other industry professionals and learn new best practices.

“We have always tried to make sure TEAM is a great value for attendees,” said TEAM Secretary Brandon Campbell. “The partnerships we have formed with our sponsors allow us to offer the program at a low cost, with 15 hours of meaningful technical content each year.”

TEAMOptional workshops and tours were offered the first day of the conference. In house workshops included such topics as ADA Accessible Routes and Programming 101: The Basics of Programming a Project.

For those that chose to don their walking shoes, various city tours were offered to take a look at some of St. Louis’ finest ongoing projects, and behind-the-scene tours of the city’s busiest transportation modes. Some of the tours offered were of the new Daniel Boone Bridge (I-64 over the Missouri River), America’s Central Port, Lambert Airport, and the City Arch River project.

The next two days were full of breakout sessions on various topics, projects and themes ranging from safety developments, design, construction and management.

Two well-known speakers were on hand for the general sessions. Michael Marasa of Hayward Baker Geotechnical Construction gave an eye opening presentation on The Investigation and Treatment of a Swallvette, covering the disastrous sinkhole that nearly swallowed the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY last year. Dr. George Connor of Missouri State University also gave a very thought provoking presentation titled Coloring within the State Lines: The Political History and Culture of Missouri, highlighting past, present and possible future trends of Missouri.

The conference ended with MoDOT’s Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger addressing the crowd on the tough choices ahead that Missouri is facing with funding. He reminded all that this is not a MoDOT problem, but rather it’s a Missouri problem, and encouraged them to better educate themselves and others on the funding issues that Missouri faces.

If you missed this year’s conference, please be sure to plan to attend in St. Louis next March. Additional conference information can be found at www.teamconference.org.
 
Fatality Update
fatalities graphic
 
What's Happening
Inno ChallengeWhere Innovating is the Order of the Day
MoDOT’s Innovations Challenge program was chosen as the cover story for the most recent edition of the Federal Highway Administration’s Innovator newsletter.

The Innovations Challenge is designed to identify and share the best department innovations in the areas of tools and equipment, products and productivity.

Read Article.


Walking for WellnessWalking for Wellness
Join us for the American Heart Association’s voluntary walking challenge! Walking is a form of aerobic exercise and is one of the easiest ways to increase your physical activity and improve your health. The walking program is from April 6 to June 29.

You must be registered by April 6 to be eligible to enter a drawing for a Fitbit® Flex™ activity tracker. The first 250 employees to register will receive a pedometer.

For more information and registration details click here – Walking for Wellness.

Poplar BridgePoplar Street Bridge Archaeology Webpage
MoDOT began conducting archaeological investigations in 2013 for proposed highway improvements in downtown St. Louis. The web summary of the work at the Madam Haycraft and Louis Beaudoin sites is now online - Poplar Street Bridge.

Fieldwork on the archaeological investigations is expected to continue in April with additional work scheduled for summer and fall.


social mediaAASHTO Study Evaluates How DOTs Communicate Environmental Benefits of Transportation
A report analyzing how state transportation agencies communicate the environmental benefits of transportation and how those communications could be improved has been issued by the Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO.

The report, Benefits of Transportation: Telling America's Transportation and Environment Story, was developed in part through an analysis of state DOT posts on social media and found that communications about environmental benefits can and should be increased, with the emphasis on improved quality of life.

"There are opportunities to advance the good work being done at DOTs by broadening the reach and frequency of environment-related messages," the report said. Read Report.


Retirements

Kevin N. Teeter – NW – 23 years

Doug E. Wendling – NE – 29 years

Kurt A. Spindler – NE – 41 years

Stephen R. Porter - KC - 16 years

Warren F. Roberts - KC - 30 years

John N. Oehring - CD - 22  years

William R. Abbott - CD - 23 years

Betty L. Shadwick - CD - 26 years

Jimmie G. Chastain - SW - 29 years

Kenneth R. Layman - SW - 31 years

James L. Conley - SW - 31 years

Rowland K. Harmon - SW - 32 years

Lawrence J. Schumer - SE - 41 years

Tim L. Beavers – SE - 26 years

Steven A. Billings - CO - 13 years

Leanna DePue - CO – 9 years

 
In Memoriam

Steve Windle – active employee
Kansas City District – March 18
Darrel VanNess
former D8 – February 18
Jackie Ligons
former D3 – February 19
Carrol Simmons
former D3 – March 1
David Arndt
former D2 – March 2

Oscar Radar
former D9 – March 5
Charles Hopkins
former D10 – March 5
David Erwin
former D3 – March 5
Leroy Stolberg
former D3 – March 7
William Diersing
CO – March 8


George Arnold
former D8 – March 9
Kelley Grantham
former D10 – March 10
Melvin Monroe, Sr.
former D3 – March 10
Donald Fischer
former D6 – March 11
Lyle Thompson
former D7 – March 15

 
 
 
Mission

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