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September 11, 2014

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Kansas City District
 
Boots on the Ground Hiring Event
It looked just like something you would see at a speed dating event, but much more was on the line inside a giant, warmly lit ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn in Independence, Mo.

boots 2Potential candidates who could be the next group of seasonal highway maintenance workers were going through a series of interviews in hopes of landing a job with MoDOT’s KC District.

Behind the blue curtains, candidates were no doubt trying their best to shine and prove that they have what it takes to be a MoDOT employee. 

Each session lasted about 30 minutes. When it was over, MoDOT Human Resources Manager Deborah Hogan banged on a gong to let interviewees know it was time to meet the next interviewer. This intense process went on for nearly three hours. 

After it was all over each of the job candidates thanked the host and left, but the day was far from over. After a brief lunch break, MoDOT maintenance managers all came together in an adjoining ballroom to discuss who they felt was qualified to join the team.

bootsThis was a three-day process with the hopes of hiring 70-100 new seasonal maintenance workers. But, this actually all started back in Mid-July. During that time, the HR department held a series of career fairs at local churches in hope of finding the right candidates.

Qualified candidates were invited back to take part in one of the three-day interview sessions.

This all comes as MoDOT gears up for the winter snow season. Those who make the team will take part in orientation Sept. 22.
First J-Turn Intersection In KC Region Opens
Motorists may soon be turning the right way in the Kansas City Region, and saving lives in the process. A newer engineering solution called a J-turn allows motorists to cross traffic on busy routes more safely, helping to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries. The Missouri Department of Transportation began construction of a J-turn intersection at Route 50 and Route 58 in early June and opened at the end of August.

Construction on this project closed lanes of eastbound and westbound Route 50 at Route 58 and includes installing the J-turns and acceleration/deceleration lanes, as well eventually removing the crossing at this junction. 

“We’re hoping to save lives and reduce possible injuries with this project,” says MoDOT Area Engineer Mike McGrath. “We felt that something needed to be done now and the J-turn is the right solution for the funds we have available.”

jturnA J-turn is an alternative to traditional roadway intersections. Instead of motorists on the side streets crossing two fast-moving lanes of traffic to get to the opposing traffic lanes, drivers turn right and use a u-turn to go left. Drivers on Route 50 will still be able to make traditional movements, including left turns.

J-turns have proven to be a safer alternative to a traditional intersection on a four-lane highway because they essentially eliminate right-angle crashes while lessening the severity of other crash types. Angle crashes can be severe, and frequently lead to traumatic injuries and even fatalities. In fact, the installation of J-turns at similar intersections throughout Missouri and the nation have shown a substantial decrease in fatal and serious injury crashes.

Although drivers will have to travel slightly farther to get where they want to go, using J-turns usually takes the same or less time than trying to wait for an appropriate gap to cross traffic. This option uses an extended deceleration lane, basically adding a third lane on the highway to allow traffic making a U-turn onto opposing lanes to safely pull off the mainline, out of the way of high speed traffic. In addition, acceleration lanes will be constructed to allow traffic an opportunity to gain speed after turning onto the highway.

“J-turns are still relatively new, but in other areas of the state and country where they’ve been installed, the public has ended up really liking them and feeling more comfortable with the safety benefits,” McGrath says.

Learn more more about J-Turns on MoDOT's website.
 
Kansas City Team Member Recipient of the ITS Heartland “Best of ITS Service Recognition Award"
On Aug. 25, at an annual Intelligent Transportation Systems conference in Branson, Jason Sims, Scout Traffic Center Manager, was named as the recipient of the ITS Heartland “Best of ITS Service Recognition Award.” This distinguished award recognizes outstanding service to the ITS Heartland community.

simsJason Sims has been heavily involved in ITS Heartland throughout his tenure with Scout. In 2009-2010 he represented MoDOT as the state chair and brought many innovative ideas to the Board of Directors. He was an advocate for operations and assisted in hosting several operations symposiums. In 2012 he chaired the ITS Heartland Conference held in Kansas City, as President and initiated the establishment of the ITSH OWG (Operations Working Group) to maintain communication and cooperation among the five state agencies, throughout the year, not just during Conferences.

He first served as Vice Chair and then became President, ending his term in 2013. Following this, Jason served on the ITS America State representation board, as well as on the Traveler Information Committee.

He is currently serving as the chair of the ITSH Operations Working Group in 2014. He also represented MoDOT at the ITS America World Congress in Detroit, MI, Sept. 7-10, 2014.

Learn more about ITS Heartland on their website at www.itsheartland.org.


 
 
 

For more info

Melissa Black
Customer Relations Manager,
Missouri Department of Transportation
Melissa.Black@modot.mo.gov
P: (816) 607-2027
F: (816) 365-0860

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