Highway construction season officially kicks off Monday, April 9 through Friday, April 13 with Work Zone Awareness Week, and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will show its share of “orange” throughout its 17 counties this summer.

Highway construction season officially kicks off Monday, April 9 through Friday, April 13 with Work Zone Awareness Week, and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will show its share of “orange” throughout its 17 counties this summer.

“Distracted driving has become the number one cause of crashes in Missouri and the entire country,” said MoDOT Northeast District Engineer Paula Gough. “We want everyone to get to their destination safely, and we want our workers to go home to their families safely each day.”

While there are some projects underway, like the Interstate 70 interchange in Warrenton and the new Champ Clark Bridge in Louisiana, there are several others that will be starting up this week and soon after.

“We have a lot of resurfacing on U.S. 61 and U.S. 63 that is underway or will be soon, as well as the McMasters Ave. project through Hannibal,” said Gough.

In 2018, nearly 144 miles of highways will be resurfaced, and 18 bridges will be replaced or repaired. In addition, about 2146 miles of minor roads throughout northeast Missouri will receive some incremental patching, and 533 miles of minor roads will get a chip or cinder seal to protect their current condition.

Specific projects that will take place this year include:

Resurfacing approximately 18 miles on U.S. Route 63 in Adair, Macon and Randolph counties stretching from Kirksville to Macon, and Route EE in Moberly to MO 22.

Resurfacing 16 miles on Missouri Route 19 in Audrain and Montgomery counties, going from south of U.S. Route 54 to just north of Montgomery County Route B.

Resurfacing four miles on U.S. Route 54 in Audrain County, stretching from MO 15/MO 22 to the Callaway County line.

Resurfacing nearly 17 miles of U.S. Route 61 in Marion and Lewis counties, going from Marion County Route B to U.S. 24.

Resurfacing U.S. 61 (McMasters Ave.) in Marion and Ralls counties from just north of Missouri Route 168 to north of Warren Barrett Drive in Hannibal.

Resurfacing approximately 16 miles of U.S. 61 in Clark and Lewis counties, the Iowa State line to Missouri Route 27 and around Lewis County Route B near Canton.

Resurface U.S. 61 in Lincoln County from the St. Charles line to Lincoln County Route K.

There are also several bridge projects planned that will result in the closing of some routes. Please be aware of those that may be coming in your area.

A complete list of projects is available at www.modot.org/northeast. To help people plan their travel this year, the traveler information map is available online 24/7 and shows where all road work is currently located, as well as future road work. MoDOT customer service representatives are also available 24/7 to answer road work questions. Internet users with email accounts can subscribe to receive notifications about road work in counties of their choosing.

Gough reemphasized the importance of drivers eliminating distractions while on the road. Last year preliminary results show that 19 crashes happened in work zones that involved cell phone usage.

Businesses and organizations are encouraged to wear orange one day of the week of April 9 through April 13 to raise awareness of the dangers in work zones. Please take a picture of your group and post in on Facebook or send it to us at NECR@modot.mo.gov. The hashtag is #orangeforsafety.

Close calls happen every day on Missouri highways, primarily because people aren’t paying attention or speeding through a work zone. This link will take readers to a recreation of an actual close call that occurred in northeast Missouri this January: https://youtu.be/awvZiz0yI8I.