Missouri hosts 2012 national work-zone awareness kickoff

St. Louis highway construction project highlights importance of staying alert in work zones

April 23, 2012

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) in St. Louis kicked off this year's national focus on work-zone awareness with an event today on a highway construction project in St. Louis County.

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined MoDOT on the Rte. 141 reconstruction project in Chesterfield, Mo.

Each spring, transportation and safety officials highlight the importance of staying aware in work zones through National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). This year, the week is April 22-28.

"We need motorists to pay attention to highway construction and drive with caution to prevent senseless deaths and injuries," said Kevin Keith, MoDOT director. "We're also asking the public to rate work zones they've driven through once they've arrived at their destination, and they'll see new signs placed at the beginning of work zones that ask them to do that. This kind of first-hand information will help us make adjustments and increase safety for motorists and our work crews."

The Rte. 141 project reconstructs a 2-mile stretch of the roadway, upgrading the road from a three-lane road with at-grade intersections into a six-lane freeway with multiple interchanges. The roadway will enhance the flow of traffic through the region, reduce congestion and generate an estimated $1 billion in economic impact over the next 20 years. The $45 million project is Missouri's largest American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project.

MoDOT committed to testing several innovative techniques on this project, including intelligent compaction, two-lift paving and a photocatalytic additive for the concrete that absorbs and breaks down pollution into harmless elements.

For the 2012 and future national media events, the NWZAW executive committee concluded the best way to determine a host state would be through a competitive selection process. Missouri was the first state selected to host this annual kickoff.

"We wanted to select a state that's doing something wonderful that could be shared with the rest of the nation," said James Baron, director of communications for the American Traffic Safety Services Association. "The national committee selected Missouri because we were really impressed with what the state is doing with work-zone awareness."

Besides hosting the NWZAW kickoff event, Missouri has been selected to host the "National Work Zone Memorial - Respect and Remembrance: Reflections of Life on the Road." This traveling memorial is a living tribute to the memory of the countless individuals who have lost their lives in the nation's work zones. It travels to communities cross-country year-round. The intent is to raise public awareness of the need to respect and stay safe in America's roadway work zones.

The traveling memorial will be displayed in the St. Louis Galleria from Tuesday April 24 until Sunday April 29.