(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Motorists trying to a determine the best traveling route for their upcoming family trip can do it all with a click or two of their computer mouse.
For the third year in a row, the Southeast District of the Missouri Department of Transportation is making available a map to show motorists where to expect road work and potential delays.
"Motorists can know where to expect the major construction and get to their destination on time," noted Scott Meyer, MoDOT district engineer. "The map also helps travelers know whether they need to take a different route or not."
MoDOT's Southeast District construction map, a breakdown of all 43 construction projects in the 14-county Southeast Missouri District this year, is now available. The map shows the location as well as a description of the projects in the district.
"We have a responsibility to Missourians to keep the roads as safe and in the best condition possible," Meyer said.
Letting motorists know about construction zones ahead of time is positive for both the travelers and the workers, too, Meyer said.
"Plus motorists also get to see the progress of their tax dollars. If they see the map, they see that we are doing our jobs," Meyer explained.
According to MoDOT statistics, more work-zone crashes occur on weekdays than weekends and most happen during the summer and fall months.
"Our most important priority is safety -- for anyone traveling our highways and those who work for MoDOT. Work zones can be dangerous places and we hope that by informing the public of where they can expect these sites, we can increase safety for everyone," Meyer said.
In Missouri, 25 motorists died and 1,057 people were injured in work-zone crashes. Of the injured, 51 were MoDOT workers. More than 44 percent of all Missouri work-zone crashes occurred on an interstate highway. City streets were the site of 24 percent of the crashes.
"We've found that in the past, the construction maps work really well," MoDOT Customer Service Representative Connie Robinson.
For a copy of the construction map, visit the MoDOT web site. Then click on "Your Local MoDOT" and select the county where you live, which will take you to the Southeast District's Web site. Then click on "Southeast Missouri Construction Map" and click on the red PDF file icon to view the map.
In addition to a construction map, web navigators have access to contact phone numbers and tips on safe driving such as managing speed, stress and space when they browse MoDOT's site.
MoDOT officials know not everyone is computer literate so anyone inquiring about road conditions can call 1-888-275-6636.
"I talked to a woman from Arkansas this morning who was going to be traveling to Cairo, Ill., and she was wondering what Interstates 55 and 57 would be like," Robinson explained.
Motorists can also request a hard copy of the map by submitting the automatic e-mail provided on MoDOT's Web site, Robinson said. Then MoDOT will mail a map to them. Motorists should request their maps at least five days prior to their trip to allow enough time to reach them, she recommended.