September 11, 2014

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Southwest District
Southwest District at Work

I-49 bridge at Lamar


Reddings Mill storm damage

Rogersville public meeting  

EASY DOES IT (Upper Left) - Contractor crews place one of the girders for a new bridge over I-49 at 1st Street in Lamar under the watchful eye of Nevada Senior Construction Technician Chad Mays (far left). (Photo/David Mitchell)

STORM DAMAGE (Upper Right) – Neosho Maintenance Crew Leader Travis Wilfong (left) and Neosho Maintenance Worker Matt Morgan clear storm debris along Route 86 near Reddings Mill after a Sept. 1 thunderstorm. (Photo/David Mitchell)

A CHANCE TO LISTEN (Lower Left) - District Right-of-Way Manager Steve Shelton (left) discusses a design-build project with a woman at a recent public meeting in Rogersville. Project Freeway: U.S. 60 Rogersville is the first design-build project in the Southwest District. (Photo/Angela Eden)


Summer Safety Challenge

Ends with Mixed Results

The 2014 Summer Safety Challenge is over and the results are mixed.

The Safety Challenge is an initiative to get employees thinking more about safety in an effort to reduce the number of incidents on the job.

Between May and August, more than 500 workers in the district’s 31 maintenance organization units competed to see which building had the safest employees.

Four safety categories were tracked: backing incidents, overhead incidents (i.e., trees, power lines, etc.), injuries (incidents requiring medical attention) and at-fault fleet incidents. The goal was zero in each of those categories.

District Safety and Health Manager Gary McLarry said those areas were chosen because they have the highest potential for serious injury or even death.

“We were trying to bring attention to various areas where we’ve seen a significant number of incidents or a severity issue,” said McLarry.

For example, a couple of years ago the district had 22 backing incidents.

The good news is overall the district had fewer injury incidents compared to last year. There were six injuries during the summer of 2014 compared to 15 in 2013.

But “we had a very difficult last six weeks of the Summer Challenge,” said District Maintenance Engineer Michael Middleton.

During the last month and a half of the challenge, maintenance employees were involved in five at-fault incidents, four backing incidents and two overhead incidents.

“We do not have every employee’s attention,” Middleton said, “as shown by the decisions that a few employees made that resulted in these incidents.”

“That’s disappointing,” he added. “We have many, many individuals that are doing a great job!”

As an incentive during the challenge, workers in a maintenance organization unit who went all four months without an incident will receive a barbecue lunch cooked for them, provided and prepared by the District Maintenance Leadership Team.

Seventeen of 31 maintenance organization units qualified for the lunch. That’s about 300 employees.

If a Maintenance Superintendent’s area, made up of 4-6 buildings, went the entire four months without an incident, each building would get one of the new dump trucks purchased by the district to be delivered later this year.

Southwest Area Maintenance Superintendent Richard Arnall’s shops were the only ones to qualify for the one of the new trucks.

Despite the improvement in the number of injury incidents, Middleton is not satisfied. He says communication is the key.

“We place a very heavy emphasis on ‘what’ we are doing,” he said. “We must be better at ‘how’ are we going to be safe and communicate.”


SW District Partners with 3M, Testing
New Tape for Highway Marking

Drivers tell MoDOT they sometimes have trouble seeing lane markings on Route 60 through Springfield, especially when it rains.

So, since the middle of August, Southwest District traffic and maintenance engineers have been testing a new striping product on the highway.

The 3M product is an all-weather tape the company says has better reflectivity in the rain and is more durable than the paint the district is using now.

MoDOT crews installed the skips (the dashed stripe separating the driving lanes) on eastbound Route 60 between Glenstone Avenue (Bus. 65) and Route 65 on Aug. 17.

In addition to difficulty seeing lane markings, the location also was chosen because of the large traffic volume and the different pavement types.

“Where the pavement transitions from concrete to asphalt, it is sometimes difficult to see the stripe,” said Assistant District Maintenance Engineer Bob Becker.

He added rain often makes the problem worse.

District Traffic Engineer Joe Rickman said the product has a couple of features that make it different from what is currently used.

“(It) uses a microcrystalline ceramic bead that is more durable and more reflective than standard glass beads used in a typical latex paint striping operation,” said Rickman.

He said 3M predicts the test tape should last four years, compared to one year or less for the paint MoDOT uses.

“Typically, tests stay in place for at least one season before being approved,” Becker said. “Since this is a durable product, we will monitor it to see what its life span truly is.”

So far, Rickman and Becker agree, the tape looks good during both day and nighttime driving conditions.

“As an agency, MoDOT continues to evaluate innovative products that could improve the visibility of our pavement markings in various weather conditions,” Rickman said. “Improved visibility means improved safety.”

MoDOT estimates the cost of its current pavement markings at about $5 per foot including installation; however this product is more expensive by 15-cents to 20-cents a foot.

“But, if the visibility and durability are that much greater from a safety standpoint,” Becker said, “it could be a viable product for certain locations.”

Customer Service Rep for a Day:
Asst. D.E. Fulfills MSECC Obligation
CS Rep for a Day
Senior Customer Relations Specialist Angela Eden (right) talks Assistant District Engineer Dan Salisbury through the finer points of being a Customer Service Representative. (Photo/David Mitchell)

Saying it’s not THAT much different from what he does every day, Assistant District Engineer Dan Salisbury became a Southwest District Customer Service Representative for part of the day on Friday, Aug. 29.

Salisbury was fulfilling an obligation to the SW District Customer Relations team after the group won a fundraising contest that benefited the Missouri State Employees Charitable Campaign.

“It was fun,” he said of his experience in the Customer Service Center. “I enjoyed talking to the people.”

Salisbury chose a Friday when there tends to be fewer calls and an easier pace.

He received a lot of help and guidance from the Southwest District Customer Service reps including Tonya Staeger, Becky Walsh and Michelle Kelley.

“I appreciate that the CSC reps helped me fill out call reports,” he said. They also helped him locate information so that he could answer other calls on his own.

Salisbury took several calls including a couple from outside the Southwest District and was able to help most of MoDOT’s customers with their questions.


For more info

Jennifer Williams
Customer Relations Manager
Southwest District

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