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Road work keeps MoDOT busy despite COVID-19 pandemic

North Providence Road in Columbia
KMIZ
Vehicles travel along North Providence Road in Columbia on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Missouri Department of Transportation said Tuesday that calls for service were on track with previous years in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic.

MoDOT has "had a pretty consistent year [2020]" with incoming calls from Missouri residents reporting issues with roads," said Machelle Watkins, district engineer for MoDOT's Central District.

The agency received around 130,000 calls in 2020, which Watkins said was in line with recent previous years. MoDOT encourages Missouri residents to report any issues with roads at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

MoDOT had to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic. Now workers wear masks, use social distancing and only one person is allowed per vehicle.

"We are able to keep pace with the calls coming into our call centers, we just have to go about it in a different way," Watkins said.

MoDOT even saw an increase in construction because of the high number of projects already planned. Missouri ranks seventh in the country for state highway miles at 33,832 but is 48th in revenue per mile, MoDOT says.

"It's a struggle to take care of the system we have," Watkins said. "We make a lot of tough choices about what we prioritize and what projects we do move forward with."

The state of the roads carries an added cost to consumers. Researchers with the not-for-profit transportation group TRIP say the yearly cost to drivers in the Jefferson City and Columbia areas is about $1,500 per year. Those costs come from vehicle repairs associated with poor roads, according to the organization.

Locally, MoDOT is working on pavement repairs on Interstate 70 and its surrounding outer roads. Surface treatments and sidewalk work are planned this summer for Stadium Boulevard from Highway 63 up to the L.A. Nickell Golf Course area. Surface treatments are scheduled for Highway 63 and Providence Road in 2022.

Columbia / Jefferson City / Missouri / News / Top Stories
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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.

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