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Highway Work Halted for Memorial Day Holiday
To Avoid Congestion on Busy Travel Weekend


MoDOT, District 8, Springfield -- Work on Missouri's highways in the Springfield area and all over Missouri will be put on hold during the Memorial Day holiday so as not to disrupt traffic, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.

MoDOT and law enforcement officials advise travelers to expect lots of traffic all over the state. Drivers are urged to remain attentive behind the wheel and use seat belts and child restraints.

Several road projects in southwest Missouri will continue through 2005 and into 2006, including the Route 65 interchange construction at Hollister and the widening of Route 13 north of Humansville.

However, work by the highway contractors on those projects will be suspended over the Memorial Day holiday. This is designed to give workers time off, to minimize disruptions and keep traffic moving and to reduce distractions during the busy travel weekend.

MoDOT road maintenance crews also will keep off the roads over the weekend, except to help police with highway-related emergencies.

"It's better to lose construction time than to put our people and the public at risk," said MoDOT District Engineer Dale Ricks of the Springfield office. "Getting home safely is and should be everyone's primary goal."

In southwest Missouri as well as statewide, MoDOT has more work zones than ever, thanks to voter approval of Amendment 3 last year. Amendment 3 lets MoDOT keep more of its revenues and undertake more road improvement projects, including the resurfacing of many major highways.

Yet everywhere in the state, projects with long-term work zones will be shut down for the holiday.

Some work zones may have a reduced speed limit even with no work going on. However, regular speed limits will be in effect in as many work zones as possible. Drivers should pay attention to the signs posted as they approach a work zone.

During the 2004 Memorial Day holiday, 13 people died in Missouri traffic crashes, and seven of them were not buckled up. The holiday period also saw 573 injuries. About 1,300 crashes were reported.

Speeding, inattention and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs were the main causes of most crashes, police said.

“Even when you drive carefully, you can’t always prevent being in a crash,” said MoDOT Director of Operations Don Hillis. “But you can always wear your seatbelt and cut your risk of dying in a serious crash in half.”

The Highway Patrol is providing increased enforcement of Missouri’s traffic laws during the holiday as part of MoDOT’s Highway Safety Division “Click It or Ticket” campaign. A special focus is enforcement of safety-belt and child-restraint laws.

“It is a proven fact that safety belts save lives,” Hillis said. “If you do not wear your safety belt, you have a one in 37 chance of dying in a traffic crash. If you do wear the safety belt, your risk is just one in 1,283.

“We urge motorists to be patient and careful this (Memorial Day holiday) weekend and all summer.” Hillis said. “We know there will be some inconvenience and delays, but the work we do this summer will mean years of smoother, safer roads.”

For more information about highway projects statewide, visit www.modot.org or call 1-888-ASK-MoDOT. In the Springfield area, call 417-895-7600.

Safety tips for traveling this holiday weekend:
Buckle up. Every trip, every time. Safety belts save lives.
Don’t drink and drive. Impairment of any kind is unacceptable.
Don’t speed. Note the posted limits and adjust for weather conditions.
Pay attention and stay alert. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway.
Obey traffic rules and signs. Signs are put up to help you.
Plan your trip. Determine your route before you leave.
Get plenty of rest before your trip. Change drivers if you feel tired.
Be patient and courteous. It helps you relax and think and avoid reckless moves.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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