SIKESTON - Increase and enforce the fines for littering.
Ban the use of cell phones in construction areas.
Don't put out warnings of road construction unless construction is actually under way.
Members of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce offered these suggestions and more to Scott Meyer, district engineer for District 10 of the Missouri Department of Transportation. During Thursday's monthly Chamber meeting Meyer was on hand to talk about MoDOT and to answer Chamber members' questions.
Meyer explained that MoDOT's goals are to finish projects it has started, to take care of what it has completed and to build public trust.
He pointed out MoDOT is nearing completion of several projects including the widening of Highway 60. In Scott County during the past five years, the district has spent $20,025,409 which includes the diversion channel bridge replacement, improvements to Interstate 55, sidewalk improvements along Highway 61 and the resurfacing of numerous roads. New Madrid County has had $13,779,717 spent on various projects including work on Highway 60, pavement repairs on I-55 and the creation of a left turn lane on Highway 61.
"You are getting a pretty good return on what is paid at the pump," said Meyer referring to the gasoline tax which funds MoDOT.
However, he noted, the existing roads in Southeast Missouri as well as across the state are deteriorating at a rate greater than the department can keep up with repairs. While more money than ever is being spent on repair work, more money is needed, he said.
In response to a question about a proposal which would allow the sale of bonds to fund road construction, Meyer said "conceptually the (Highway) commission likes it." The sale of bonds would allow for a quicker start to a building project, he stated.
Projects, such as Interstate-66, require years to fund, Meyer said adding that Missourians should not expect to be driving on I-66 in the state even in the next 20 years. Questioned about the recent involvement of Illinois in the placement of the road, Meyer stated that MoDOT's role has been as a contributing agency. "We aren't in the driver's seat," he added. "But what we want is what's best for Missouri."
He said the work on the diversion channel bridge should be completed in late October and the Bill Emerson Bridge should have traffic on it by the end of the year.
In other Chamber business:
* Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall displayed the newest sign going up in the city: a warning against littering.
"We are constantly trying to do things to improve our community," said Marshall as he held up the sign. "We are trying to encourage people to clean up the town."
The signs will begin going up in the next few days, according to Marshall.
* DPS Director Drew Juden invited members to take part in the First Southeast Missouri Peace Officers Golf Benefit set for Sept. 22 at the Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau. Registrations are being accepted for teams and businesses are encouraged to sponsor holes during the event. Proceeds will benefit Andy Wagoner, who served with DPS and is now a member of the SEMO Crime Lab. Wagoner has multiple sclerosis, Juden said.
The event is sponsored by Sikeston DPS, Scott County Sheriff's Department, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department and the Cape Girardeau Police Department.
* The Ag Appreciation Day Barbecue will be from 5-6:30 p.m. July 29 at the Clinton Community Center. The event is an opportunity for the community to show its appreciation of farmers and agri-businesses in the four-county area.
* The Red Neck Barbecue, set for Aug. 9 at the Clinton Community Center, will include the sale of barbecue, games and live entertainment, according to Chamber Director Missy Marshall. She added the public is encouraged to attend.
* The Chamber is selling shirts for the 51st Annual Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo at its office. Youth and adult size shirts are available along with caps.
* The next Chamber luncheon will be Aug. 28 at the Malone Street Grill. Judy Buck with the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center will be the featured speaker.