JEFFERSON CITY - Looking back on 2010, the new director of the Missouri Department of Transportation says the agency made strong progress in improving the state's highway system. Those improvements, says Kevin Keith, contribute to the state's continuing drop in highway deaths, which leads Keith's top 10 signs of progress in 2010:
1. Fatalities Lowest Since 1950
Engineering improvements, enforcement, education and emergency services are credited with the 31 percent drop in highway deaths since 2005. Traffic fatalities are the lowest they've been since 1950.
2. kcICON Opens Early
The new Christopher S. Bond Bridge, built as part of kcICON, a major highway project in Kansas City, opened to traffic several months ahead of schedule. Roads and Bridges magazine selected the kcICON project as 2010's top road project and the fifth best bridge project.
3. 86 Percent of Major Highways in Good Condition
Missourians' investment in transportation through Amendment 3 enabled us to bring 86 percent of the state's major highways up to good condition.
4. A New or Improved Bridge Opening Every 2.5 Days
The Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program is fast at work repairing or replacing 802 of the worst bridges in the state, with a new or improved bridge opening about every two and a half days.
5. Progress on Major Highway Corridors, Rural Roads
One hundred and nine miles of four-lane or shared four-lane highway was added to the books in 2010. In addition, through cutting costs and budget savings, we identified $64 million to put toward fixing minor roads.
6. I-64 Selected Best Transportation Project in the Nation, Springfield Diverging Diamond Most Innovative
The Interstate 64 reconstruction project in St. Louis was named the country's best transportation project. In addition, the new diverging diamond interchange in Springfield, Mo., won the Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation
7. Customer Satisfaction, Trust Remain High
Eighty-three percent of Missourians report they are satisfied or very satisfied with the job we do. In addition, 92 percent trust us to keep our commitments. Truckers rated their satisfaction with our Motor Carrier Services Division at 95.7 percent.
8. MoDOT Recycles Billions of Pounds of Waste
Since 2005, we have kept 8.4 billion pounds of waste from going to landfills. Those efforts have twice earned us the top state recycling awards.
9. Amtrak Ridership and On-Time Performance Continue to Improve
Ridership on Amtrak's Missouri River Runner trains between St. Louis and Kansas City increased from 154,000 to 168,000 during fiscal year 2010 and on-time performance rose to a record-high average of 92 percent.
10. New Interstate Coming to Missouri
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission in March approved highway construction that will upgrade Highway 71 between Kansas City and Joplin to interstate standards by the end of 2012.
A video recapping the top 10 signs of progress can be found on MoDOT's YouTube site, www.youtube.com/modotvideo.
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Editor's note: Recorded comments on the Top 10 Signs of Progress from MoDOT Director Kevin Keith can be found at http://www.modot.org/modotpodcast/index.htm. A high resolution of the video can be found at ftp://ftp.modot.org/CRmedia/Top_10_Signs_of_Progress/. Just right click on the link and hit save target as.