Residents: MoDOT project won't make dangerous Warren County road safer

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by Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 18 at 5:51 PM

(KMOV.com) – Many Warren County residents are concerned that a new construction project will not make a dangerous stretch of a local highway safer.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) recently began working on a ¾ of a mile stretch of Missouri Highway 47 that residents say has been home to a lot of accidents, many of which have been fatal. The section of highway currently features 12 curves, MoDOT wants to reduce that number to three. Officials said the project is slated to cost $2.3 million and is supposed to be finished in August.

"It seems a lot of money for something that really wasn't necessary if people would just take it easy," nearby resident Gwyneth Newyear said.

Newyear said that most of the accidents have been caused by speeding drivers, and motorists who try to pass other cars at the wrong time. She told News 4 she fears that straightening out the road will simply encourage more drivers to speed.

“The big fear is people will go faster and faster because they'll think it's all fixed up now," Newyear said.

One official think lowering the speed limit to 55 mph will help alleviate the problem.

“People tend to drive the speed of the road and if you try to make an unreasonable speed limit people are just going to ignore it," Richard Domzalski of MoDOT said.

Residents also have another concern. Many are worried that a straighter road will make it more dangerous for the school busses that makes stop along the highway.  MoDOT said it will add four foot wide shoulders to help improve safety.

"We'll be improving the sight-distance along that route. Along with a straighter alignment you'll be able to see farther down the road, and we'll have advance warnings signs noting there is a school bus stop ahead and a side road entrance as well," Domzalksi said.

MoDOT also told News 4 that the Missouri Highway Patrol may be called in to crackdown on speeding.

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