Our Opinion: Help shape a safer U.S. 54

Don’t miss the opportunity to share your experiences and help shape profound public safety improvements.

The issue is the dangerous stretch of U.S. 54 from south of Jefferson City through Cole County.

Some of our readers have contributed to the community dialogue in the “Your Opinion” forum. They have shared accounts of harrowing close calls along the dangerous route.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) plans to make improvements.

Highway officials have secured $5 million in federal funding to improve the 11 grade-level crossings along the dangerous stretch of highway.

Engineers have developed an overall plan, but they also want to hear your insights and recommendations on ways to curtail accidents along the dangerous and deadly corridor.

On Thursday, the agency will host a series of one-hour workshops in the Cole County R-5 Elementary School cafeteria at 14803 Highway 17 in Eugene. A new workshop will start every 15 minutes, with the series beginning at 3:30 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m.

Each workshop will include a presentation by a member of the MoDOT project team, followed by time for public questions and comment.

We understand some public skepticism surrounds these types of workshops. Cynics are inclined to believe the sessions are primarily to promote the official project, rather than cultivate and incorporate public input.

Skepticism and cynicism, however, also present dangers, particularly if they deter or discourage well-meaning people from offering public safety ideas.

We trust MoDOT engineers want to integrate their expertise with the experience of motorists who travel the stretch of U.S. 54.

We believe that’s what these workshops are all about.

You, the public, are a critical component in crafting cost-effective public safety improvements. Please participate.

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