Military Weapon Altered For Road Construction Safety Device

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COLUMBIA - Incorrect reports claimed Missouri's Department of Transportation purchased a military grade "sound cannon" to warn speeding drivers in construction zones. 

Mo-DOT's maintenance engineer Beth Wright said the report is not true. 

"We borrowed 2 machines in the fall to test with and we just got the results back," explained Wright. 

The L-RAD machine is an acoustic device that emits a high-pitched beeping to warn speeding drivers that construction crews are driving slowly as they stripe the roads. Due to the rise in construction site accidents, Mo-DOT has been looking at new technologies to improve the safety of their workers, according to Wright. 

Placed on the back of a slow moving line-striping truck, the L-RAD machine would beep continuously at 66 decibels, equivalent to the sound of a hair dryer, to tell drivers to slow down. Along with the beeping, the machine actually says "Slow down."

Wright says there are no plans to purchase the acoustic devices this year because incorrect reports scared a number of residents. 

Mo-DOT will do more testing with the devices and look at how to restrict access to the machine so it can't be used as a weapon. 

"We're only interested in purchasing equipment that will make everyone as a whole safer. We would never buy something that puts drivers and our workers at risk," said Wright. 

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