MoDOT

AGC of Missouri, MoDOT Celebrate 65 Years of Interstates, Policy Org Releases Transport Report

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri, Missouri Dept. of Transportation and elected officials from St. Charles city and county celebrated the 65th anniversary of the genesis of America’s interstate highway system on Aug. 13.

Missouri was the first state to break ground on what would become a nationwide network of 46,876 paved miles of interstate routes, of which nearly 1,400 miles are in Missouri. During President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s term, the federal government let contracts to begin building. The stretch of Interstate 70 where last week’s celebration took place represents the first spot in the U.S. where shovels hit dirt to begin constructing the interstate system.

“Right here, the first shovel of dirt turned on the greatest economic engine in the U.S., our interstate system,” said Len Toenjes, president of the AGC of Missouri.

Tom Blair, MoDOT St. Louis District engineer, said the agency is ready to move forward on several Tier I projects awaiting funding through the proposed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal approved by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 10 and awaiting action in the House. The bill devotes $550 million in new spending for roads and bridges, broadband internet, public transit and electric utilities.

The prioritized (currently unfunded) projects are: I-70 at I-64, I-70 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, a segment of I-270 that is only two lanes in both directions and I-55 in Jefferson County.

“MoDOT stands ready to produce increased results as a result of this increased investment,” Blair said.

Also part of the Aug. 13 interstate anniversary celebration was Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, director of communications and research for TRIP, a DC-based nonprofit national transportation research group. The organization just released recommendations for the restoration and renewal of the interstate highway system. To see the full report, go to https://tripnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/TRIP_Missouri_Interstate_Report_August_2021.pdf

“As of May 2021, the level of interstate volume is 3 percent above 2019 levels,” said Kelly. “Missouri has the 9th highest volume in the nation in terms of interstate truck traffic. It’s critical that the U.S. provides long-term, sustainable and adequate transportation infrastructure funding. The long-term vision that helped establish our interstate highway system 65 years ago is needed again today.”

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MoDOT Asks Business Stakeholders for Input on State’s Rail and Freight Plan

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

MoDOT Waterways and Freight Administrator Cheryl Ball is asking freight owners, shippers, truckers and other stakeholders for input as the agency writes its 2021 combined rail and freight infrastructure plan.

For the first time ever, MoDOT is crafting a 5-year strategic plan that includes both rail and freight. The most recent rail plan was drafted in 2012, and the latest freight plan was completed in 2014. Ball says it makes sense to combine both plans into one to best serve business and industry stakeholders.

“One plan makes sense in terms of interpreting the data and in harnessing the expertise of our stakeholders in the most efficient way,” Ball said. “We’re seeking input from all stakeholders – in Missouri, regionally and across the U.S. – as to how we can continually make operational improvements to make our transportation infrastructure as safe and certain as possible for those whose businesses depend upon reliable, predictable routes and schedules.”

Rail traffic comprises 50 percent of all the freight traffic in Missouri, according to Ball, while truck traffic also comprises 49 percent to 50 percent. Water, air and pipeline together comprise less than 2 percent of all statewide freight traffic.

“Interstate 70 is one focus of our plan,” she said. “For example, trucking industry stakeholders told us that if there’s a crash on I-70 in the rural parts of Missouri, there’s not an escape route. That makes the route subject to a lot of uncertainty in terms of the projected time to carry goods to their destination. We’re looking at work we can do to improve emergency ramps in locations where frequent crashes occur. Operational efficiency strategies are a big part of making our major trucking routes not only safe but also dependable.”

Another example of work with industry stakeholders, says Ball, are communications strategies to ensure that transportation stakeholders are aware, weeks ahead of time, if they need to reroute due to anticipated road projects such as the I-270 reconstruction. “Shippers want to know that if they route a truck through this corridor, is it going to add 45 minutes, two hours or four hours to their time estimate,” Ball said. “Particularly for warehouse and distribution stakeholders, traveling from city to city might be reliable but traveling those last few miles, exiting the interstate to their destination, can wreak havoc with their projected schedules. A major goal of our integrated rail and freight plan is to make changes and improvements that lessen these uncertainties for businesses whose livelihoods rely upon infrastructural and operational efficiency.”

Business and industry members interested in providing input to MoDOT toward its 2021 rail and freight plan are encouraged to contact the agency via https://www.modot.org/contact-information. Trucking companies are also encouraged to take the latest Missouri truck parking survey at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/079af1bb10154a3da76c8853da10481b/

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MoDOT to Suspend Construction of I-44 bridge at Shrewsbury

FacebooktwitterlinkedinmailMoDOT has suspended construction of the eastbound I-44 bridge over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, near Shrewsbury until next spring due to concerns with the expected durability of the bridge.

During on-going monitoring of the bridge project, inspectors noticed greater than usual cracking on the westbound bridge. These cracks, about the width of a credit card, may allow water and salt to get through the driving surface, which could reduce the life-span of the bridge.

“The bridge is safe, but we want to make sure that Missouri taxpayers get the best product for their infrastructure dollars. Since the design and construction of the eastbound bridge is the same as the westbound bridge, we want to make sure we determine the cause and potential impact of the cracking on the westbound bridge before we construct the deck on the eastbound bridge,” said Tom Blair, MoDOT St. Louis District Engineer.

Due to the urgency of the situation the department has hired a third-party consultant to review the material, procedures and design of the bridge project. This detailed analysis may take several months.

“We want to get this done as quickly as possible, but also want to make sure we determine the correct cause and appropriate fix. Once the detailed analysis is complete, we will determine our course of action, and will work as quickly as we can to get the eastbound interstate bridge open to traffic. We understand the impacts this will have though winter and apologize for them,” said Blair.

Since construction is suspended, the work zones on I-44 between Shrewsbury and Jamieson, as well as the ramp closure from Shrewsbury to eastbound I-44 will remain in place until construction is complete.  Crews will shift traffic on eastbound I-44 slightly to ease the crossover between the eastbound and westbound lanes and will close westbound I-44 for a weekend to seal the bridge deck to minimize any impact due to winter temperatures and salt.

Weather permitting, crews will close all westbound lanes of I-44 between Hampton and Shrewsbury at 8 p.m. Friday, November 16. They will also close all but one eastbound lane at Shrewsbury at 8 p.m. Friday, November 16. In addition, drivers will not be able to get on or off westbound I-44 at Hampton, Southwest, Arsenal, Jamieson or Shrewsbury starting at about 7 p.m. Friday, November 16.  All lanes and ramps should be reopen by 6 a.m. Monday, November 19 for morning rush.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Asphalt Conference Nov. 29-30 at Missouri S&T

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FacebooktwitterlinkedinmailThe 59th annual Asphalt Conference will be held Nov. 29-30 at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Registration is $130 per person and is available online at asphalt.mst.edu.

Conference presentations will include intelligent compaction projects; basics of plant operation; lift thickness and nominal maximum size of aggregate issues; benefits of increased density; Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) performance tests: cracking, rutting and stripping industry task groups; chip seal design, specification and construction; cape seals; high-volume traffic chip seals; soil cement stabilization and cold in-place recycling; scratch and seal update; scrub seals and matrix slurry seals; Binder 101; MoDOT recycled asphalt pavement/recycled asphalt shingles long-term pavement program update; parking lot design for longevity; pavement design examples with “PaveXPress;” Federal Aviation Administration versus highway spec comparison; MoDOT’s current research; and the Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association update.

Organizers say the conference will be of interest to contractors, public agencies, consulting engineers, testing labs, aggregate producers, asphalt binder suppliers and technical equipment representatives. Conference participants will receive personal development hours credit.

For conference program information, contact Dr. Dave Richardson, Chancellor’s Professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri S&T and conference director, at 573-341-4487 or richardd@mst.edu. For registration information, contact Missouri S&T’s office of Distance and Continuing Education at 573-341-6222 or dce@mst.edu.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail