Four months after the Highways and Transportation Commission approved the Bolder Five-Year Plan, the Transportation Department’s Director has offered an update on its progress. Kevin Keith has told the Commission at its meeting in Springfield the plan has already resulted in 177 million dollars being redirected to highway projects, since the first changes began in March of last year.

He says the agency is down 667 positions. One problem is that 225 more maintenance personnel are gone, beyond what MODOT intended. Keith says other MODOT staff have the option of applying for those jobs.

So far the Department has also closed 23 facilities and disposed of more than 245 pieces of equipment. When complete, the plan would reduce staff by a total of 1200, close 131 facilities and reduce the equipment fleet by more than 740 pieces. District offices in Macon, Willow Springs and Joplin have been transitioned to regional offices, and the Department is operating with 7 district engineers, down from 10 before the plan was approved in June.

Keith says the plan is somewhat ahead of schedule, with management teams in place. The next goal is to get maintenance personnel repositioned in time for winter to be ready for the first snowfall. Work with “professional level” positions is next, and changes with facilities and equipment will ramp up in the spring.

The Director also praised the work of staff this year in responding to natural disasters, even with changes throughout the agency looming. Keith says MODOT employees have “every right to be apprehensive, nervous, scared; everything you can throw in there, but their performance in still delivering results has just been fabulous.” He says he would expect that to continue.