JEFFERSON CITY – This weekend marks the start of a busy travel season and a historically deadly time on the nation’s roadways. And with construction season in full swing, the Missouri Department of Transportation is urging drivers to stay alert this summer.
During last year’s “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” which spans the summer travel season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 333 people were killed in Missouri traffic crashes. Distracted driving, excessive speed and following too closely were three of the main causes of crashes, particularly in and around work zones.
“With more places to be, more people on the roads and more construction work across the state, it’s crucial to stay alert behind the wheel,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT’s chief safety and operations officer. “Whether you’re sharing the road with motorcyclists, driving around city streets with pedestrians in the area, or traveling through a work zone, slowing down and paying attention can save lives, including your own.”
With the heavy holiday weekend traffic, MoDOT will suspend work zones with routine lane closures beginning at noon on Friday, May 27, through 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 31, but major work zones with permanent lane closures will remain in place. Drivers are reminded to pay attention to warning signs, obey the speed limit and put their phones down.
Some of the major work zones with permanent lane closures in place over the holiday weekend include I-35 in Kansas City, where all northbound lanes from 12th Street (Exit 2W) through the I-70 interchange will be closed for bridge reconstruction. In St. Louis, the eastbound lanes of I-255 over the Mississippi River are closed, and all traffic shares the westbound bridge with two lanes in each direction. Additionally, a multi-year project is underway from mile marker 22-33 on I-270 in northern St. Louis County. Motorists can expect construction on the route and its eight interchanges. In Pulaski County, one eastbound and westbound lane of I-44 will be closed at mile marker 166.8 (Trophy Lane) over the weekend for bridge rehabilitation work.
MoDOT advises motorists to plan ahead by using the Traveler Information Map at traveler.modot.org, which provides the latest road conditions, including closures, work zones and incidents. A mobile map app is also available for smartphone users, or motorists can call MoDOT’s 24/7 customer service toll free at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT continues to work toward a goal of zero roadway fatalities and urges all who travel in and around the Show-Me State this summer to buckle up, put the cellphone down, slow down and never drive while impaired. For more information on Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, and how everyone can participate, visit savemolives.com.