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19 August 2010

Nodler: Safe Driving as Students Return to School

It’s the time of year for students of all ages throughout southwest Missouri to return to the classroom. This means more congestion on roadways in the area. Safe driving should always be a priority, but drivers need to be especially careful around construction sites and school zones.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is active in the 32nd District. Maintenance projects continue throughout the year as crews work to repair, patch, and perform upkeep on our roads. Here are some MoDOT projects affecting our area right now:

Jasper County:

  • Route BB bridge at Deer Creek: Closed for replacement until Sept. 10.
  • Route 66 (7th Street) between Route 249 and Duquesne Road: Widening the road to five lanes and replacing the Turkey Creek bridge. Reopening Fall 2010. Resident and business access only.
  • MoDOT also recently announced that The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved highway construction resulting in the upgrading of the US 71 corridor between Kansas City and Joplin to interstate standards by the end of 2012.

Dade County:

  • Route U bridge: Crews with Enviro Control of Stockton closed the Route U bridge over the Sac River for replacement on August 16 as part of the Safe & Sound Bridge Program. The bridge will reopen mid-September.

Newton County:

  • Route 43: Paving from 32nd Street to I-44 taking place August 19-25.
Highway safety in our state has made great strides. In 2009, 878 people were killed in traffic crashes — almost 100 less than in 2008. MoDOT reminds drivers that basic driving safety including following the speed limit, buckling up, and never driving while impaired can make a significant difference. Drivers should also try to avoid common distractions such as texting while driving or driving while fatigued. These tips are especially important for young drivers. According to MoDOT, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15 to 20 years old. There are three factors that contribute to traffic crashes for this age group: inexperience, risk-taking behavior and immaturity, and greater risk exposure.

If you see a roadway emergency or unsafe driving, call the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 800-525-5555 or *55 on your cell phone. You can also contact your local law enforcement agency.

For more information on roadway safety and road projects in the area, visit I wish everyone a safe and happy start to the school year.

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