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Emergency response personnel say MoDOT road improvements helped
Emergency response personnel say MoDOT road improvements helped

Rick Fry works to remove a vehicle tangled up in a median cable.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Sept. 30, 2009) — Few people see the effects of road work more than tow truck drivers and emergency responders, and most Pulaski County people in those categories appreciate the work Missouri Department of Transportation personnel have been doing on area roadways.

Rick Fry of Jack’s Towing said the median guard cables on Interstate 44 have been especially helpful in preventing crashes by cars that otherwise would have ended up in the opposite lane of oncoming traffic.

“These cables are good; they’ve just gotten them a little bit too close to the highway,” Fry said. “They serve the purpose, they keep cars from going through the median and having a head-on crash, but they’re also tough on automobiles.”

Fry noted that cables don’t stop all crashes and they can cause some minor cases that would have been slideoffs before they were installed to become a serious crash doing major damage to an inattentive motorist.

Crashes in which the cables catch a car and tangle it up in the wires pose special problems, Fry said.

“It gets bad when (the cable) gets behind the tires and the post is stuck in there too,” Fry said. “I want to avoid cutting the cables if there is any way not to do it.”

Bill Miller, the team chief for Mark Twain REACT, said he usually comes out to daytime crashes in isolated parts of Pulaski County when he hears that wrecks are blocking a major roadway and there aren’t enough volunteer firefighters to wait for long periods.

Miller said he hopes MoDOT personnel won’t stop their roadway improvements on Interstate 44 and will continue their work to provide an audible reminder when motorists are approaching the roadway edges.

“They shouldn’t be done with the road yet, I hope — they need to put some rumble strips down and call it done,” Miller said.

While the new road surface on I-44 should eliminate pothole problems and the new median cables should reduce the number of crossover crashes, some wrecks involve vehicles that leave the roadway too rapidly to be caught by the cables.

On Tuesday morning just west of the Exit 150 overpass for Route 7, a semi truck from Transport America out of Minneapolis left the eastbound lane, smashed through guide cables on both the eastbound and westbound lanes, crossed two full lanes of westbound traffic, and landed on the north outer road blocking both lanes of traffic. Capt. Ann Price of the Hazelgreen Rural Fire Protection District said she was told the truck was carrying tens of thousands of pounds of rubber pellets when it ran off the roadway, carrying two sets of guard cables with it.

Even though the cables didn’t keep the truck from crossing into oncoming traffic, it didn’t hit any vehicles and emergency personnel were able to keep the cables on the westbound lanes of traffic from causing more crashes.

The cables may have prevented the semi truck from causing even more damage, however.

“They were still under the outriggers of the truck when we got here,” said Capt. Russell Hobbs of the Tri-County Rural Fire Protection District. “It was probably those cables being tied up that kept it from going all the way down the embankment.”

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THIS ARTICLE: Emergency response personnel say MoDOT road improvements helped
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 11:53 pm

Crash sends semi across I-44, carries median guard cables into traffic lanes
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:34 pm

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