Route 54 work intended to make highway curves safer

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - The newest construction project on Missouri roads puts an extra focus on safety, in addition to routine maintenance.

Crews will apply a pavement treatment on seven curves in the road along Route 54 between Camdenton and Mexico. The Missouri Department of Transportation expects treatment to improve traction, making the roads safer during rain and snowfall.

“Our goal is for them to stay on the highway, and not leave the highway with the potential of crashing,” MoDOT spokeswoman Sally Oxenhandler said.

In order to apply the treatment, one lane on Route 54 eastbound will close beginning Monday, July 31. One lane will also close on Route 54 westbound starting Wednesday, August 2. All work is scheduled to finish Friday, August 4. Crews will work during the night, but the lanes will remain closed all day.

Oxenhandler said all renovations will happen within already-scheduled maintenance of the areas where curves are.

After an study of road safety in 2016, MoDOT officials released a safety report with data of crashes on Route 54 and how the department planned to address those. According to the report, the pavement treatment could reduce out-of-control crashes by 90 percent.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website, vehicle crashes have killed at least four people on Route 54 so far this year. The incident information did not say whether the crash occurred on a curve.

The MoDOT safety reports 410 crashes occurred on Route 54 curves in the last five years. MSHP and the Federal Highway Administration also contributed to the report.

Oxenhandler also said MoDOT will install guard cable and wrong way signs to increase safety on Route 54.