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Missouri roadway project earns national recognition


Missouri’s “Median U-Turn” program garnered national recognition Wednesday from the Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation. 

Following a roadway safety assessment, three median U-turn intersections were installed more than four years ago along U.S. Route 63 at Atlanta, Clark, and Hinton Roads, according to Kevin James, an assistant district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Northeast Division. 

The program was awarded a National Roadway Safety award as one of the “nation’s best examples of successful and innovative practices in roadway safety” Wednesday. James was in Washington, D.C., to accept the award on behalf of MoDOT. 

Before the installation, those intersections were the sites of multiple severe injury and fatal crashes. But since, the overall crash rate has been reduced by 50 percent with no severe injury or fatal crashes, James told The Missouri Times. 

From left to right: Tom Everett, executive director of the Federal Highway Administration; Kevin James, assistant district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Northeast Division; Gregory Cohen, executive director of the Roadway Safety Foundation.

“While our roads and vehicles have gotten safer over the years, clearly motor vehicle crashes still take a tremendous toll,” Greg Cohen, Roadway Safety Foundation executive director, said. “Unfortunately, deficiencies in our roadway environments still contribute to nearly one-third of all crashes, so improving our roadway infrastructure is a critical part of reducing these devastating crashes.” 

Missouri snagged one of seven awards which “honors highly successful approaches to improving roadway safety at the state and local level” handed out during the ceremony in the nation’s capital. 

Arizona, Florida, South Dakota, and Virginia also received awards for various projects. 

“We commend this year’s winners for their success not only in saving lives on our nation’s roads, but also for maximizing the cost effectiveness of federal, state, and local funds that were used,” Federal Highway Administration Executive Director Tom Everett said. 

Gov. Mike Parson has made infrastructure needs a priority during his tenure in office. The General Assembly passed a massive infrastructure bill earlier this year, which included $301 million in bonds to expedite the repair of hundreds of bridges in the state.

This week, Parson has joined MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna to tour bridges set to be replaced.