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Multiple transportation improvement projects are in store for Mid- Missouri next year.

During its monthly meeting Thursday, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved contracts to rehabilitate three bridges along U.S. Route 50, resurface part of U.S. Route 63 and seven miles of U.S. Route 54, and conduct roadway maintenance in Miller County.

In Cole County, Jefferson City's eastbound Route 50 bridge over the Moreau River will be rehabilitated, as will the east and westbound Route 50 bridges over the Osage River, located west of Route 63.

Emery Sapp and Sons was granted the project after submitting the lowest bid of $1,185,161.

While official construction start dates are not yet established, work is scheduled to take place in 2022 and will likely call for occasional lane closures.

Also scheduled for 2022 is a resurfacing project along Route 63 between Boone County Route B and U.S. Route 54 in Callaway County.

In addition to resurfacing in both directions, the over $15 million project includes applying high friction surface treatments at curves for safety, repairs to bridge decks along Route 63, improving guardrails and guard cables, and resurfacing Ponderosa Street from Gans Creek to East Meyer Industrial Drive.

The work is expected to close one lane of traffic at various times and locations.

MHTC awarded Capital Paving and Construction the project after it submitted the lowest bid of $15,350,303.

The commission also approved a contract to resurface almost seven miles of Route 54 in northern Callaway County next year.

Pace Construction, which submitted the lowest bid of $2,355,000, will resurface the east and westbound lanes from north of Kingdom City to the Audrain County line.

Roadway maintenance is also planned for Routes 17 and 52 in Miller County.

MHTC awarded Blevins Asphalt Construction a $634,721 contract to apply a seal coat treatment to Route 17 between Route 42 and Route 52. Route 52 between U.S. Route 54 and Route 17 will also get a seal coat.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has chosen to apply a seal coat and repair the low traffic volume road instead of laying down new asphalt. The method is cheaper and keeps water from penetrating the roadway surface, improves traction and extends the life of the road by up to seven years.

The project is scheduled to take place in 2022.

In addition to approving the transportation improvement projects, the commission spent time discussing traffic safety after the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety hosted its Highway Safety and Traffic Conference in September.

MHTC Chairman Robert Brinkmann, who is also chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, said he and other coalition members are concerned about the lack of seatbelt usage and prevalence of distracted driving in the state.

"It's simple, all we got to do is put seatbelts on," Brinkmann said. "There are right at 1,000 deaths in Missouri every year still, and it hasn't gotten a lot better, and 70 percent of those people are not wearing seatbelts. It's just unimaginable to us so we're going to work on that."

MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said he is confident the safety coalition will be successful in elevating the discussion around safety issues in the state.

With an average of three people dying on Missouri's highways each day, McKenna said safety needs to be at the forefront of all department work.

"If we, through our efforts coming together, don't focus on lowering that number, then we haven't done our jobs," McKenna said. "We haven't fulfilled our mission."

Oct. 26 marks the department's fifth Buckle Up, Phone Down Day.

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