ROADS REPORT

Article December 28, 2000
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Summer camp


Summer camp . . . this exit


Roads lead to summer camps. In Missouri, however, there was a summer camp which might lead to a future road . . . or a future bridge.


Aspiring engineers had the opportunity to learn more about the roadbuilding industry by attending the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Summer Transportation Institute. The program, designed to interest minority high school students in pursuing transportation careers, included leadership and team-building activities, lectures, seminars, hands-on laboratories and field trips. A group of 18 minority high school students participated this past year.


To qualify, a student had to have completed or be enrolled in Algebra I, carry a cumulative grade-point-average of 2.5 and have an interest in engineering, science, transportation or a technology-based career. Each participant received a scholarship which provided funding for tuition, room and board and other expenses.


The students visited highway and bridge projects, MoDOT's central laboratory and sign shop and the Intelligent Transportation System in Springfield. They also visited the Discovery Center in Springfield, which houses the Traffic Control Center. The students witnessed a dynamite blast at a construction site on Route 179 in Jefferson County, and Lincoln University hosted two days of orientation directed toward business issues.


The institute was sponsored by the University of Missouri-Rolla, the Center for Infrastructure Engineering Studies, the Federal Highway Administration, Civitas, Burns and McDonnell, Sverdrup Corp. and MoDOT.


MoDOT plans to stay in touch with the students through their high school and college careers, and may recruit some to work for the department.


For more information on the Summer Transportation Institute, call MoDOT Senior Human Resources Specialist Carol Hurt at 573/522-2457.


Caring in the line of fire


He may not be Mr. Feel-Sorry-For-Everybody, but Chad Walworth of Springfield, Mo., had a big heart after he saw Ms. In-Need-Of-Help.


The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) recently recognized Walworth as a "Highway Angel" for his exemplary actions in assisting a mother and child stranded on the road.


While traveling westbound on I-24 in Kentucky last May, Walworth noticed a U-haul on the side of the road.


"I saw a small child and a woman putting her hand through her hair," said Walworth. "To me, that's always a sign of distress."


When Walworth pulled over to see what the problem was, he noticed smoke coming from under the hood of the vehicle. After running back to his truck to get a fire extinguisher, Walworth returned to the vehicle, which was now engulfed in flames.


"It was more than I could handle," he recalled, "so I called the fire department."


Walworth waited with the woman and her young daughter for the fire department to arrive, but by the time firemen reached the scene the woman, who had been moving her possessions from Florida to Iowa, had lost everything including her purse.


"I’m not Mr. Feel-Sorry-For-Everybody, but the little girl was crying because she had lost her belongings," said Walworth. "They had no money, so I called my operator and asked if I could have an advance."


Walworth gave the mother and daughter enough money to get something to eat and stay at a motel until relatives could come get them.


"This is the first time I’ve pulled over for someone," said Walworth. "After it was over, I felt good about having had the chance to help someone."


Walworth received a "Highway Angel" lapel pin, certificate and a decal for his efforts. Walworth’s employer, Burlington Motor Carriers, also received a certificate for acknowledging a "Highway Angel" in their midst.


Taking it for a test spin


Everybody could use the practice, and now the motoring public can make an attempt on one of several course variations at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, S.C. The center now offers one- and two-day advanced driving programs, which are open to licensed drivers 18 years and older and conducted by BMW-trained professional driving instructors in BMW automobiles.


Designed for active safety instruction, the course features a water wall area. The wall is considered one of the most effective ways to simulate unforseen obstacles. Other features of the course include a wet surface skid area to simulate icing and slippery conditions and sections for autocross and slalom programs.


Thirty-five course variations are available on a circuit nine-tenths of a mile long. The course expands to 1.7 miles using connecting roads.


Available driver programs are: New Drivers School, Car Control Skills Clinic, Advanced Car Control Skills Clinic, M School, M5 School and X5 School. The latter three involve instruction after the purchase of certain BMW vehicles.


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