Just before he retired, Richard Walter then the engineer in charge of the Joplin office of the Missouri Department of Transportation, played a big role in bringing Pete Rahn from New Mexico to Missouri.


 


Just before he retired, Richard Walter then the engineer in charge of the Joplin office of the Missouri Department of Transportation, played a big role in bringing Pete Rahn from New Mexico to Missouri.

That’s why Walter, Webb City, was listening closely when he heard that Rahn was leaving the department after almost six years in that job. 

Rahn announced this week he was leaving as of April 23 to take a job with the Kansas City engineering firm HNTB Inc.

“Pete has had a great affect on the culture of MoDOT,” Walter said. “The department was in a lot of turmoil before he came in. He got here and stabilized the department and brought a new vision about the way of doing things.”

Walter was part of the selection committee that had to find a new MoDOT director in 2004, a time when the department was held in particularly low esteem for failing to follow through on a 15-year construction plan from 1992.

A few months after he started, voters approved an amendment to the Missouri Constitution providing more money for road and bridge construction by redirecting taxes and fees to a bonding fund.

The result has been the construction of numerous new projects in Missouri and the reconstruction of the 2,200 most-traveled roads out of the state’s 32,000 miles of roads.

Walter said Rahn brought a new openness to MoDOT’s planning of the projects that were funded with the new money.

“He changed the culture of the department to be more open and use the money more efficiently,” Rahn said. “He made the department more customer-oriented.”

The Department announced on Friday that Chief Engineer Kevin Keith will serve as interim director until a new director is chosen in a national search that could take several months.

The following is a list of road construction and maintenance projects that drivers should be aware of as they travel area roads. 

Jasper County

Construction Activities

• U.S. 71 resurfacing - Journagan Construction Company was awarded the contract to resurface U.S. 71 from Missouri 96 near Carthage to I-44 near Fidelity starting on Monday. 

MoDOT said motorists should watch for work zones in the southbound lanes from Missouri 171 to one mile south of I-44. On the northbound side, the workzone will run from one mile south of I-44 to one mile north of the interstate.

The work is expected to take five weeks.

Maintenance Activities

• Route D - Oct. 14, 2009-Spring 2010 - Bridge at Quaker Mill closed until further notice.

• U.S. 71 South - March 29-April 2 - Pavement repairs from Route M to Route V. 

• U.S. 71 South - March 30-April 2 - Pavement repairs from Route D to Missouri 96.

• Route M - March 29-April 2 - Replacing drainage pipe.

• Various routes - March 29-April 2 - Sweeping roads, maintaining bridges and signs, patching pavement and cutting brush. 

Newton County

Maintenance Activities 

• I-44 West - March 29 - Repairing shoulders at Missouri 43. 

• U.S. 71 South - April 1 - Pavement repairs near U.S. 60.

• Missouri 86 and 43 - March 29-April 2 - Maintaining signs. 

• Various routes - March 29-April 2 - Patching pavement, spraying weeds, clearing brush, maintaining signs and flushing bridges. 

Barton County

Construction Activities

• Missouri 126/U.S. 71 interchange - APAC-Missouri, Inc., was awarded the $4.5 million contract to build an interchange at Missouri 126 and U.S. 71. Estimated completion date is summer 2010.

• County Route DD/EE and U.S. 71 interchange, and County Route V/C and U.S. 71 interchanges - Brauer Excavating was awarded the $7.3 million contract to build interchanges at Routes DD/EE and V/C. Estimated completion date for both interchanges is September 2010. 

• Route C closed at U.S. 71 north of Lamar. Traffic is detoured onto the SE Outer Road. 

Maintenance Activities

• U.S. 71 - March 29-April 2 - Patching shoulders.

• Various routes - March 29-April 2 - Patching pavement and cleaning bridges.