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After Several Semi Crashes, Concern Grows About Stretch of I-44

MT. VERNON, Mo. -- Missouri Department of Transportation engineers are taking a closer look at a stretch of Interstate 44 near Mt. Vernon.
MT. VERNON, Mo. -- Missouri Department of Transportation engineers are taking a closer look at a stretch of Interstate 44 near Mt. Vernon. 

"Recently, we've got some inquiries about the area. When big trucks run off the road, especially in the same area, folks tend to ask a few questions," MoDOT Southwest District Traffic Engineer Joe Rickman said.

A big truck ran off the road early Tuesday morning. Shelly Howell, who works nearby, sent KOLR 10 an email saying the crash scene was an unfortunate, but not unusual incident as of late.

"This makes the sixth semi to crash and roll over here in the last year, exactly the same place, on the bridge over the secondary road. Many of us out here are wondering why?" Howell's message said, in part.

"We don't really have anything definitive that we can point our finger to say why -- why here?" Rickman said.

Rickman said he has looked at crash reports over the last several years.

"As far as crash rates, it's about half what the state-wide average is on the interstate, so it's a safe section of road," Rickman said.

A MODOT worker was sent to check the area Tuesday, to see if there was anything wrong.

"He didn't seem to think there was anything, and he drove it in a stiff-suspension vehicle to be sure," he said.

"We've got guard cable up, in the section where we've got guard rail, we have tabs on the guardrail so at night you have extra guidance with that. We've got rumble strips. It's flat, it's straight. There's not a curved section or anything," Rickman said.

Rickman said he and other MoDOT engineers will continue to look over data and study reports to figure out why the stretch of road has become a concern, but right now, he says it remains somewhat of an anamoly.

"I'm not sure why we're having a problem there, it may be inattention, it may that they're getting close to turning off the road and they're looking for something, but you hate to make those assumptions because you just don't know," he said.

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