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Turn lane for a safer trip

                                                                                                                           Photo by Christy Porter

By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

Beginning with the 2018 school year, mother Aimee Lane recognized a safety issue for those who were transporting children to and from Licking R-VIII. The main campus is situated on Hwy. 137 and has school zone safety signs and flashing lights, however persons accessing the school via Hwy. 63 South to Maple Street or College Street have no safety designators. Lane’s experience in a slowing or stopped vehicle attempting to make the turn, likely shared by many using that same route, was excessive speed by approaching vehicles from both directions. Lane also noted numerous accidents at this same location.
Initially Lane was unsure of whether she could achieve success in resolving her concern, as she was only one person. When the 2019 school year began, her concern for the children’s safety as well as those transporting the children and for teenager drivers increased. She decided to take action as an advocate, beginning with contacting the school; it being a Department of Transportation issue she was referred to Licking City Hall; the issue being the same, she was referred to MoDOT.
Michael Wake, in engineering at the Missouri Department of Transportation, responded to her concern. Correspondence transpired between the two, ending in a final phone call right before the lines were painted on the newly done road construction in that area. Lane made the call, to which Wake replied he was glad she called. A transportation meeting was being held the next day, which was a perfect opportunity to address this specific, time-sensitive, pertinent issue. Had it not been brought to the forefront at this meeting, it would not have been addressed until the next expected repainting of the highway in 10 years.
Wake got on the phone immediately to verify that the shoulders of the highway necessary to add the passing lane would be strong enough to support the additional weight of all transportation possibilities. “Oftentimes the shoulders of the highway are not strong enough to support the additional traffic weight which would be created; we were lucky this time,” said Wake. “We changed the plans for this area, submitted the change order to the contractor and got it worked out to make it happen.” Wake stated, “The stars aligned perfectly in this situation and everything worked out perfectly.”
Lane would like to express her gratitude to Wake personally and the MoDOT team for their assistance and the attention given to this possible hazardous condition.
“People should speak up if they are aware of something that would benefit our children’s safety; one person can make a difference,” says Lane.
Our thanks to Lane for being that one person, in this situation, that made a positive change possible.

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