Letter to the Editor

MoDOT director addresses ER citizens

Friday, September 23, 2005

Dear Concerned Citizens of Eagle Rock:

We recently received your letter and petition regarding the Eagle Rock maintenance building. We appreciate hearing about the local residents' concerns and understand your interest in the maintenance facility and the workers.

MoDOT strives to use taxpayer's dollars efficiently by constantly looking for opportunities to decrease operating costs and increase efficiency. Over the past few years, MoDOT has initiated many cost-reduction measures, including the consolidation of maintenance buildings. Because Missouri has the seventh largest highway system in the country and has one of the smallest budgets in terms of revenue per mile, we must focus our resources on high traffic-volume highways to satisfy the largest percentage of Missouri motorists as possible. One way we're focusing our resources is to do a statewide review of all our buildings, ensuring we have them in the best location with the most appropriate staffing.

Our maintenance facilities were originally located to maintain the gravel roads taken over form the counties in the 1950s. Since them, roads have been upgraded to asphalt surfaces and modern equipment allows our maintenance forces to cover more miles to maintain a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system. The employees in our buildings maintain fewer lane miles than five of our neighboring state DOTs.

One of the major concerns mentioned in you letter was snow removal. MoDOT's objectives are to restore the major highways to a wet or dry condition as soon as possible after the end of the storm; to restore the higher volume (greater than 1,000 average daily traffic) minor highways to a wet or dry condition as soon as possible after the end of the storm; and to have the lower volume (less than or equal to 1,000 average daily traffic) minor highways open to two-way traffic and treated with salt and/or abrasives at all critical areas such as intersections, hills and curves, as soon as possible after the end of the storm. Following these guidelines allows us to satisfy the needs of the largest majority of Missouri motorists.

One of our top priorities as an organization is to provide safe work zones to protect our employees and the traveling public. We value the lives of each of our employees and the life of every motorist, so we need to provide an adequate number of personnel to provide flaggers, protective trucks and other traffic control devices to ensure safety. Without budget to hire additional personnel, we have had to reassign personnel at multiple facilities statewide, not just at Eagle Rock.

Even though the three employees are presently assigned to nearby buildings, the Eagle Rock building will serve as a satellite building stocked with salt and other maintenance materials so we can continue to maitain a level of service that is consistent accross the state.

Thank you for you continued interest in the department's operations. We are always pleased to hear from local communities about how we can best serve their needs.

Pete K. Rahn


Missouri Department of Transportation

Jefferson City, Missouri