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Stepped Up Enforcement Along Hwy FF/F in northwest Jefferson County

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Mar 22 in Updates 0 Comments

For Immediate Release — March 9, 2012— Motorists traveling along Hwy FF/F in northwest Jefferson County, Mo., will be seeing stepped up law enforcement as a result of a collaborative effort between a community road safety advocacy group, the Missouri Department of Transportation and local law enforcement agencies.

One Curve At A Time, a grass roots advocacy organization dedicated to making Hwy FF/F safer, has been working since the fall of 2011 to improve the safety along the Hwy FF corridor. The 4.55-mile stretch of rural highway has been the site of numerous accidents and fatalities. In the first road improvement designed to make Hwy FF safer, the Missouri Department of Transportation last week created a new "pull-off" area near the intersection of Hwy FF/109/W so that local law enforcement have an area to both monitor vehicle traffic as well as pull over unsafe drivers. "MoDot is excited to work with One Curve at a Time to improve the safety of Route FF," says Judy Wagner, P.E., MoDot Area Engineer for Franklin and Jefferson Counties. "This is our first step toward addressing the road safety issues along this stretch of highway. Our next efforts will focus on ensuring a clear right of way so that drivers can have a clear view of traffic." This week, MoDot crews also began clearing debris and trimming trees in the right-of-way along the entire stretch of Hwy FF between Hwy 109 and Hwy F. "We also continue to seek funding for construction of shoulders and curve improvements," adds Wagner. One Curve At A Time requested local and state assistance to make Hwy FF safer. Shawn Archambault, a Eureka resident whose daughter, Kaela, died in an accident along Hwy FF in the fall of 2010, heads the organization. Since Kaela's death, another fatality, Karen Turbo, and numerous accidents have caught the attention of state and local officials. One Curve At A Time now has more than 100 members advocating for a safer highway. "State highway accident reports found that between 2006 and 2010 there were 129 documented crashes along Hwy FF, which is three times the statewide average for similar two-lane roadways," says Archambault. "We know there are many more single car accidents that have gone unreported. This is unacceptable. The road must be made safer, with stepped up law enforcement and road improvements. We are so thankful that both the Missouri Department of Transportation and local law enforcement are working with us to improve the safety of Hwy FF." At One Curve At A Time's request, MoDot performed road friction tests and evaluated the traffic flow along Hwy FF in December 2011 and January 2012. Those reports found that one out of every four vehicles along that stretch of highway was speeding above the posted speed limit of 55 mph. Several cars also were traveling in excess of 85 mph at the time of the assessment. The new pull-off for law enforcement already is in use. "The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has been very active when it comes to highway safety both in traffic enforcement and in alerting MODOT of potential dangerous locations for drivers," says Jefferson County Sheriff Oliver "Glenn" Boyer. "Judy Wagner and MODOT has been a cooperative partner in our efforts to keep our citizens safe on our roadways and the turn off for law enforcement on Hwy FF is another example." One Curve At A Time and MoDot now are turning their efforts toward actual road improvements. Wagner says her department has committed to installing new and enhanced highway signage, including more visible curve and route signage as well as large chevron "arrows" on two particularly dangerous curves, one just east of Route F on Hwy FF and the other at the intersection of Hwy FF and Tall Oaks Drive, the curve where Kaela Archambault lost her life. "MoDot has said that the Tall Oaks curve is the most dangerous curve on Hwy FF," says Archambault. "As our mission is to work for road safety improvements one curve at a time, it is personally gratifying but emotional for me that we are starting with Kaela's curve." Engineering studies have identified several areas for drainage and road improvements. "We are currently estimating the cost of the curve corrections and should have the estimates complete by the end of March," says Wagner. Ultimately, One Curve At A Time would like to see shoulders along the entire stretch of Hwy FF. That improvement is said to be the most costly and subject to state funding. "Our efforts continue to spread the word that change is needed along Hwy FF," says Archambault. "We will continue to tell the story of Hwy FF, one curve at a time, so that we make our area roads safer." One Curve At A Time One Curve At A Time is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building awareness about, and making changes to, dangerous roads and curves that keep killing loved ones. With a growing number of volunteers, it focuses on educating the public about critical road problems, working with local law enforcement to enhance accountability for safe driving, and advocating for engineering and other solutions so that problem areas along roadways and curves are addressed. The organization is a grassroots effort founded by the family of Kaela Marie Archambault, who was 20 years old when she died in a traffic accident along Hwy FF in northwest Jefferson County in November 2010. For more information about One Curve At A Time, visit Contact: Stephanie Stemmler Media Liaison, One Curve At A Time 636-938-3218
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