MoDOT COVID-19 Briefing

Last Updated: 05/13/2020 - 10:15 am

 

Travel on Missouri Highways

  • Travel on Missouri Highways
  • Missouri interstates, roads and bridges remain open to travel.
  • However, when and where possible, individuals have been asked to limit travel to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
  • In addition, some Missouri communities have shelter-in-place guidelines that should be followed.

 

Interstate Rest Areas

  • We are making every effort to keep the state’s interstate highway rest areas open to the traveling public and commercial motor carriers in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 
  • We are also cleaning and disinfecting the rest areas on a more frequent basis.

 

MoDOT Customer Service

  • MoDOT facilities are currently closed to the public.
  • We are keeping lines of communication open with the public through our website – www.modot.org and our customer service centers. 
  • The public can still call our toll-free number - 1-888-275-6636 – 24/7 to speak with a customer service representative to get the latest road conditions or register a road concern.
  • All in-person public hearings and informational and stakeholder meetings are postponed or will be conducted virtually – with associated hard-copy information available upon request.
  • Traveler related information can be found using our interactive Traveler Information Map located at traveler.modot.org/map and via our Traveler Information Map mobile app.

 

Movement of Goods

  • During this emergency time, the movement of goods is critically important. 
  • As such, the State of Missouri and MoDOT have taken actions to facilitate these needs.
  • We have been working with Gov. Parson’s office, federal agencies and our partners in the motor carrier and agricultural industries to enable emergency flow of goods, including:
  • Relaxing the hours of operation for motor carriers to give them more flexibility in transporting goods;
  • Easing restrictions to allow for heavier-than-normal truckloads of supplies and equipment to travel on state-owned highways including interstates. This includes shipments of livestock and poultry; and 
  • Suspending all Missouri International Registration Plan and International Fuel Tax Agreement trip and fuel permit requirements, including fees, for vehicles not currently registered for interstate travel in Missouri. 
  • In addition, the Missouri Department of Revenue has implemented a 60-day extension of driving privileges. This extension applies to individuals with commercial drivers’ or non-commercial drivers’ license expiration dates of March 1, 2020, through April 30, 2020. For example, an individual with a CDL expiring April 30, 2020, will have until June 29, 2020, to complete the required license renewal in their local license office.
  • Second, the Missouri Department of Revenue has implemented an extension of CDL medical certificates. This extension applies to individuals holding a CDL or commercial learners permit with a current medical certificate that has been issued for a period of 90 days or more and has an expiration date of March 1, 2020, through June 29, 2020. These individuals have been granted an extension of their medical certification until June 30, 2020. 
  • This relief will give Missouri’s commercial drivers additional time to complete the required medical exam and to submit an updated medical certificate to their local license office so that their Missouri driver record can be updated.

 

Transportation Funding Impacts

  • MoDOT is a provider of critical services to the public and as such we have plans to continue operations. 
  • We are keeping vital transportation projects and essential state highway maintenance operations moving to the best of our ability. 
  • At this time, we are continuing the design and construction of the state's road and bridge projects. 
  • However, lower traffic volumes throughout the pandemic mean lower fuel tax revenue. 
  • Nationwide, states on average are anticipating about a 35% decline in targeted revenue.
  • We are carefully monitoring the situation in Missouri and are evaluating how that will affect future projects. 
  • We are being cautious with how we move forward as we wait to see what relief may come from the federal government and how long and significant the COVID-19 impacts might be.
  • While we have not stopped any construction projects that are underway, we have scaled back the May and June project bid lettings by about 30%. A July letting was not planned.
  • We will continue with existing consultant contracts but will scale back adding new consultant contracts unless they are associated with critical asset management projects.
  • We are also delaying the annual Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) update.
  • We will continue the construction program using the 2020-2024 STIP that was fully vetted a year ago, approved by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and the Federal Highway Administration, and last amended by the commission in April 2020.
  • For fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1, we will use the established amendment process to make additions or changes to the STIP to keep critical projects and functions moving forward.
  • We are working with our planning partners, transportation stakeholders and customers to keep them informed of this situation as it progresses.
  • We remain in close contact with our contracting and consulting partners to assure them that payments to them will not be affected and that we will work with them on specific issues, such as workforce availability, to ensure projects continue to move forward. 
  • At the federal level, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has asked Congress for an immediate $49.95 billion to prevent major cuts to road and bridge projects over the next 18 months.
  • The current federal surface transportation bill – the FAST Act – expires Sept. 30, 2020. AASHTO has asked Congress to double the amount of surface transportation funding and reauthorize the FAST Act and its programs for at least another six years.
  • Doing so will enable state departments of transportation to tackle a growing backlog of needed transportation improvement projects and stimulate the economy.
  • For the past five years, the FAST Act has provided funding stability and certainty to state DOTs. 
  • Without its reauthorization, projects across the country will be impacted.

 

MoDOT Program Delivery and Maintenance Operations

  • To reduce personal contact as outlined by CDC and DHSS guidelines, MoDOT is conducting all pre-bid, pre-construction and project public meetings virtually (video or teleconference) until further notice. MoDOT staff is coordinating with industry on the details of these meetings as needed.
  • Contract inspection and administration and consultant and professional services activities continue to move forward, but are being conducted virtually or adhering to social distancing guidelines for interactions.
  • MoDOT is working with its partners in the contracting industry to emphasize the need for social distancing and adherence to other DHSS and CDC guidelines on job sites. A requirement for social distancing has been written into all construction contracts beginning in April.
  • In addition, in an effort to save taxpayer dollars and adjust to workplace supply, we are working with our contractors when and where we can to give them greater flexibility in delivering projects given the decrease in traffic volumes statewide.
  • Our statewide highway maintenance operations, such as pothole patching, striping and pavement repair, also continue at present - although under the guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services and the CDC for social distancing, handwashing, face coverings and so forth. 
  • To this end, we have modified some of our routine operations to ensure social distancing of our employees. If certain operations cannot be performed safely, they may be delayed.

 

MoDOT Internal Operations

  • MoDOT continues to react to the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to our employees and operations.
  • We have put our Continuity of Operations Plan in place and have fully activated our Pandemic Response Team and Incident Management Structure to provide a consistent management structure and ensure a safe, coordinated response during this event.
  • We are taking every precaution to protect our employees.
  • While we continue our work to build and maintain the state’s transportation system, we are following all DHSS and CDC guidance. 
  • As such, we have asked those employees called upon to support this function to follow the recommended social distancing, handwashing and face covering guidelines, among all other guidelines. 
  • We are strongly encouraging the use of teleworking, flexible work schedules, and possible temporary reassignments of work locations for employees who have the ability to effectively carry out their duties from home.
  • We are encouraging the use of video and teleconferencing and email and have asked our employees to avoid common work and gathering areas, refrain from sharing work tools, stagger work shifts and constrain face-to-face interactions, among other guidance.

 

Providing Support

  • Several MoDOT facilities are being used to house and distribute critical supplies. MoDOT staff will be helping with distribution of these supplies as needed.

 

Important Reminders

We continue to support the guidance provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in combatting the spread of this virus and offer the following tips:
•    Practice “social distancing” and stay away from others as much as possible.
•    Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home and away from others if you are sick.
•    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
•    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
•    Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces – EPA list of disinfectants
•    Limit travel as much as possible. 
•    Check the Department of Health and Senior Services website at www.health.mo.gov/coronavirus or call their toll-free number - 877-435-8411 - for questions or concerns you might have regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

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