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MODOT Shares Downsizing Plan with Public

The Missouri Department of Transportation is holding community briefings around the state including one today (5/16) in Springfield. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky explains…

The purpose of the meetings is to discuss a plan to downsize and reorganize the Department. Kirk Jaranas is district engineer for MODOT’s Springfield region…

"We found ourselves in a situation where we've gone from $1.2 billion in our highway program to about $600 million, and really that's about half of where we're at, and we're finding that we won't have as much to do, and we're going to be going into our taking care of our roads and bridges mode, and, with that, we need to reduce staff in order to have enough funds just to take care of those roads and bridges."

MODOT’s plan—dubbed “Bolder Five-Year Direction”—calls for reducing the department’s staff size by 1200 employees, closing 135 facilities and selling 740 pieces of equipment. Jaranas says that should have a significant impact on MODOT’s ability to take care of Missouri’s roads…

"These adjustments will allow us to take about $118 million per year more to our program to take care of our system, and that's very important because it costs about $600 million now just to take care of the system, and when I say that that means resurfacing the roads, fix the holes in our bridges, put the paint back on the lanes, replace signs as they go bad. If we don't make these adjustments, we'll be at about $500 million, and that won't give us enough to take care of what we have."

Southwest Missouri will go to seven districts from ten. Most of the Springfield and Joplin districts will be consolidated into one 20-county Southwest District, headquartered in Springfield. Maintenance shops at Fair Grove, Manes and Wasola are already closed. Maintenance shops scheduled to be closed are in Conway, Drury, Humansville, Rueter, Seymour, Walnut Grove and Wheatland. The Sunshine maintenance shop in southwest Springfield and the Strafford Roadside Maintenance office will also close along with the Buffalo construction office and the Buffalo maintenance shop.A meeting to discuss the plan is set for 1 this afternoon (5/16) in Council Chambers at Springfield City Hall, and another meeting will be held in Springfield May 31st at 1 pm at the Library Station. Several briefings will be held in Southwest Missouri. For a list, go to http://www.modot.mo.gov/springfield/general/communitybriefingspage.htm.