JEFFERSON CITY – As Memorial Day approaches and Missourians hit the road starting this Memorial Day weekend, the Missouri Department of Transportation is urging drivers to be cautious and patient and use good judgment when traveling. Impaired driving, distracted driving, excessive speeds, and not wearing seat belts are just a few of the concerns that can accompany the increased Memorial Day weekend traffic.
"With Memorial Day largely being the start of the summer travel season, more people will be hitting the roads. Staying alert and focused when behind the wheel is what keeps your family and other families safe," said State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Nicole Hood. "It only takes one bad decision, sometimes in a split second, to change a life. Buckle up, put your phone down, stay alert and drive sober this weekend, and every weekend."
Last year in Missouri, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 13 people were killed and 67 were seriously injured in crashes over Memorial Day weekend.
"The bottom line is these fatalities are almost always preventable, and there are easy, simple actions we can all take to end them," said Hood. "Buckle up, put down your phone, slow down, and never drive impaired, especially when encountering work zones."
Along with increased summer traffic, there’s also increased work zones. On any day in Missouri there are more than 1,000 work zones for road and bridge construction or maintenance work. Drivers can stay informed of work zone locations and traffic delays on MoDOT's Traveler Information Map at traveler.modot.org, also available as a free mobile app for Apple and Android devices. Some of the major work zones with permanent lane closures will remain in place for the holiday weekend. These are some of the major projects throughout the state for which drivers should be on the lookout:
Northwest area: Interstate 29: Traffic currently reduced to one lane, each direction under the Route 6/Frederick Blvd Bridge through July for concrete replacement. This is part of a pavement improvement project on I-29 from Business 71 to near Route O through October.
Northeast area: Route 19 over I-70, Montgomery County, MM 174 to 177: Bridge replacement and interchange improvement project at New Florence with nighttime traffic impacts.
Kansas City area: Route 169, Buck O’Neil Bridge: The TOTAL CLOSURE of southbound U.S. 169 from the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport to Fifth Street in downtown Kansas City. Crews will tie the new southbound bridge into the new flyover ramps to Interstate 35.
Central area: I-44, MM 178 to 206, Phelps County: Resurfacing, bridge rehabilitation, culvert extension and pavement reconstruction work. Motorists may expect delays as the roadway could be narrowed in either direction.
St. Louis area: I-270 North design-build project, St. Louis County: Roadway improvements from McDonnell Blvd. to Bellefontaine Rd. Project includes reconstruction of eight interchanges adding lanes to I-270 and rebuilding outer roads. Drivers will experience various daytime and nighttime lane and ramp closures.
Southwest area: I-44/East Fork Niangua River and Sarah Branch: Contractor crews are replacing the westbound and eastbound bridges over the Niangua River and Sarah Branch in the median east of Marshfield near Mile Markers 106-108. Two lanes of traffic are maintained in each direction. Drivers should watch for crew equipment close to traffic.
Southeast area: U.S. Route 67, St. Francois, Madison and Wayne Counties: Route will be reduced to one lane with a 16-foot width restriction as contractor crews perform guardrail work, pavement repairs and asphalt resurfacing from Route 221 at Farmington in St. Francois County to County Road 303 in Wayne County.