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Have you Ever Wondered: Who Behind MoDOT's Highway Messages

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Thousands of miles of highway run every direction across the state of Missouri, getting a message to drivers is easily done with signs.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Thousands of miles of highway run every direction across the state of Missouri, getting a message to drivers is easily done with signs.

KOLR10's Brett Martin found out that Missouri is unlike any other when it comes some of those phrases lighting up the highways.

Mike Monahan is a truck driver based in Texas.  With hundreds of thousands of miles under his belt, Monahan sees signs over the horizons every day. 
"Yeah but not to the extent that I see here in Missouri."

MoDOT District Traffic Engineer Joe Rickman says the dynamic electric signs in Missouri are controlled in Jefferson City.
"All of the interstates have them and some of the major freeways, we've got them on part 65 and part of US 60 around town as well."

Each month, district offices are given topics to display. "We try to gear those around what other initiatives are going on in the state, whether that is seatbelt awareness, motorcylce awareness, depending on the month of the year," Rickman says.

Its not uncommon to have signs like this one in different states across the country but here in Missouri, Rickman says they come up with creative phrases to catch your attention.

"We are trying to get something instead of just saying don't drink and drive which everybody has heard for 15 or 20 years," Rickman says.

Big rig driver Danny Stella of Michigan says the signs help give them a heads up.   "They are telling you something, watch out for traffic ahead, slow down, they are telling you all kinds of safety things."

And thats what they are designed for first and foremost, says Rickman. "The primary purpose for those boards obviously is for traffic incidents. crashes, things that a driver might unexpectedly run onto in the road or even amber alerts."

After that, Rickman says putting the signs to use is better than sitting there blank.  "All of those are aimed at trying to get you as a driver to take a second, think about what you are doing and hopefully make a better decision."

Rickman says they are able to control the signs with computers in the district offices in case of regional emergencies as well.


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