August 14, 2014

Central Office

Kansas City
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Southwest District
Southwest District at Work

Route CC


Patching on Rte PP west of Fordland

A LITTLE TO THE LEFT… – Branson Senior Construction Inspector Gill Welton (left) reviews placement of a utility pole with a representative of Ozark Electric Cooperative on Route CC between Nixa and Ozark. Contractor crews are working to widen the intersection of Cheyenne Road and Route CC and remove an “s” curve on Route CC near Fremont Hills. (Photo/David Mitchell)  

SMOOTHING THE WAY – Seymour Maintenance Crew Leader Justin Watson (left), Seymour Maintenance Crew Leader Cody Key (center) and Senior Maintenance Worker Chad Embrey put the finishing touches on a patching operation on Route PP west of Fordland. (Photo/David Mitchell)

New drain pipe on Route K near Liberal  

MM-B bridge demolition

NEW DRAIN PIPE –Lamar Senior Maintenance Worker Travis Peterson (left) and Lamar Maintenance Crew Leader Bert Phipps roll a new drain pipe into place on Route K west of Liberal. (Photo/David Mitchell)

  BOOM! – Contractor crews demolished the Route MM/B bridge over I-44 west of Springfield Friday night, Aug. 8. Click the image above to watch a short video of the demolition. Work is now underway to build a new bridge over I-44. (Photo/Garen McElroy)

SW District Sees Significant

Decrease in Vehicle Backing Incidents

As a result of renewed education and training, vehicle backing incidents in the Southwest District are down 60 percent so far in 2014, compared to the same time in 2013.

According to District Safety and Health Manager, Gary McLarry, there have been six vehicle backing incidents so far this year compared to 15 between January and July of last year.

For all of 2013, there were 22 incidents.

“We’re thankful,” McLarry said. “In the last three years, with all of our backing incidents, we have only had one impact to a person.”

Magnetic flag
Magnetic flag used as part of a pilot program to encourage circle checks of MoDOT vehicles before backing. (Photo/Gary McLarry)

The district is trying to be creative in getting its safety message across. Recently, McLarry attached balloons to a number of cars used by the District Management Team in the parking lot at the District Office in Springfield. On each balloon was a check mark inside a circle, reminding the driver to do a circle check around the car.

“The circle check balloons were something I did to get the attention of the office staff,” McLarry said. “We must lead by example.”

MoDOT policies require a spotter to be used, when available, when backing equipment and vehicles. The district also is conducting a pilot program, placing magnetic flags on vehicles which encourages circle checks. The hope is that the program will lead to fewer vehicle backing accidents.

Last April, the district established a “No Backing Day” when all employees were encouraged to plan out job tasks and stage equipment and vehicles to avoid backing where possible.

According to the National Safety Council, one out of four vehicle incidents are the result of poor backing techniques, accounting for 500 deaths and 15,000 injuries every year.


SW District Employees

Raise Money for Charity

Yodie Needham (Photo/Sharon Needham)
Ruby Payne (Photo/Jodie Payne)
Penelope Raney (Photo/Aron Raney)

Southwest District employees raised another $537.28 for the Missouri State Employee Charitable Campaign (MSECC) during the month of July.

Of that amount, $274.78 came from a “Cute Pets Contest.”

Seventeen entries were on display in the District Office in Springfield as part of the MSECC. Employees voted for their favorite pet by dropping money in jars set up for each pet.

The top three winners were:

  • Yodie Needham (owned by Sharon Needham, Senior Highway Designer)
  • Ruby Payne, a.k.a. W Lady Drift Dandy (owned by Jodie Payne, Senior Risk Management Technician)
  • Penelope Raney (owned by Aron Raney, Ozark Senior Maintenance Worker)

Half of the funds raised will go to the Home for Life Cat Sanctuary, a no-kill animal shelter in Buffalo that rescues dogs and cats.

The rest will go to the Southwest District Employees Fund. The employee fund was established to assist District workers who experience significant hardships due to serious illness or a life-changing catastrophic event.

Another $262.50 came from the sale of t-shirts. Half of that money will go to the Ozark's Food Harvest, with the remaining going to the employees’ fund.

Ozarks Food Harvest is a regional food bank serving 200 hunger-relief organizations in 28 counties in southwest Missouri.

“I just want to say ‘thanks’ to everyone who participated,” said Area Engineer Darin Hamelink, who helped organize the fund raisers. “The money will go to two very good charities and help employees down the road in their time of need.”


For more info

Jennifer Williams
Customer Relations Manager
Southwest District

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