The state transportation department wants to install special surfacing, “Wrong Way and “Do Not Enter” signs and guard cable to try and reduce the number of traffic crashes along a mid-Missouri roadway. A five-year audit by the department shows more than 400 accidents, including 11 fatalities, have occurred since 2011 along the Route 54 corridor from Camdenton to Mexico. MODOT engineer Dave Silvester says using a high friction pavement treatment has reduced out-of-control crashes where it has been installed by up to 90% each year.

Photo courtesy of MODOT

Photo courtesy of MODOT

“I suspect we’re going to see a lot more of this (treatment), particularly in areas where there are some lane departures,” Silvester tells reporters during a press conference Tuesday in Jefferson City. “If we can keep cars on the road, that’s got to be our goal.”

A recent rash of wrong-way drivers on Route 54 in Miller County and a double-fatality crash between Holts Summit and Jefferson City prompted transportation officials to audit the 100-mile stretch of roadway from Camdenton to Mexico. The audit examined three types of crashes: wrong-way, curve and cross-median. The route has had 10 wrong-way crashes in the past five years that have killed 11 people.

“If we keep people on the road, that’s our goal,” says Silvester. “This will give the folks that additional traction that friction between the road and the tires.”

Nine of those 10 wrong-way crashes involved a driver who was physically impaired, such as by a seizure or by drugs and alcohol. There have been 69 cross median crashes, including four fatalities, on Route 54 between Mexico and Camdenton since 2011.

Silvester says the audit found the existing conditions along the corridor meet all state and federal standards.

The cost and when the project would begin has not yet been determined.

To view the executive summary of the audit, click here.