SOS News

SOS / Shoulders fOr Safety is a grassroots community effort to increase road safety and reduce the number of senseless fatalities on highways near the Missouri communities of Defiance and New Melle. 

The SOS / Shoulders fOr Safety team collected over 2500 signatures from local residents insisting that shoulders be installed on the  narrow two lane roads in the area. 

Working with their St. Charles County Councilman, Joe Brazil,  the SOS committee organized a town hall meeting in New Melle. The town hall meeting drew over 350 residents and was attended by Jim Gremaud -MoDOT District Engineer; Missouri Senator Scott Rupp; St. Charles County Sheriff Tom Neer; State Representative Scott Dieckhaus; State Representative Chuck Gatschenberger; Sgt. Al Northum; Sgt. Stephen Ferrier and Lt. Elvin Seals of the Missouri State Hwy. Patrol, Bill Schoonover, Drivers Education teacher, Ed Hassinger, St. Louis Area District Engineer for MoDOT.  Please read the link to the article about the meeting in The Boone Country Connection.

In letters to concerned citizens Missouri State Senator Scott Rupp reports he provided a copy of the 2500 signature petition to the Director of MODOT, all of the members of the East/West Gateway Council and other highway project decision makers.

On October 31st, in a Suburban Journal article County Executive Steve Ehlmann pledged his support to providing St. Charles County financial assistance in providing shoulders to the SOS area (this also requires the support of the County Council Members).

SOS attended the St Charles County Council meeting  on November 9th.  SOS addressed the Council during the public comment session.

On November 16th SOS met with the president of Fred Weber Inc.  Fred Weber Inc. committed to donating rock and asphalt to the project of adding shoulders to the area.

The SOS committee addressed The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission on December 2nd.  County Council President and County Council DIstrict 2 Councilman Joe Brazil addressed the Commission as well as SOS members Sherry Cybularz, Randy Frump and Cheryl Coleman.

Since the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission meeting on December 2nd Kevin  Keith, MoDot's Chief Engineer, has been in contact with SOS.  Mr Keith stated MoDot is beginning to "scope" the roads in the SOS area to develop a cost estimate for shoulders.  MoDot will work with St. Charles County and SOS to prioritize where the shoulder installations will take place (once funding becomes available).  MoDot  intends to make other safety improvements in the SOS area within the next 60 to 90 days.  For example MoDot will fix "edge drop off's"; these repairs will improve safety and are required in preparing for the eventual installation of shoulders in the area.

SOS attended the East-West Gateway Council (EWGC) meeting on December 16th.  SOS provided a tri-fold pamphlet, an information packet and a DVD video to each EWGC member.  Opening the meeting Executive Director Maggie Hales recognized the presence of SOS.  EWGC 2nd Vice Chair and St Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann championed the SOS cause several times in the meeting.

MODOT has communicated with SOS that they intend to begin maintenance work in January (this is not adding shoulders, but repairs and shoulder prep work).  MODOT will fill edge ruts and edge drop offs with aggregate and cold asphalt millings. MODOT is asking assistance from SOS in prioritizing the work.  If you have information to provide about how the work should be prioritized, or if any areas are being missed, then please email SOS at  The tentative plan is for the maintenance work to progress as follows:
  • Route D between 94 and Z.
  • Route DD
  • Route Z
  • Route N east of Route Z
  • Route 94 south to Route T
  • Route F

Design work for shoulders is continuing.  Once the design phase is completed and  funding is available shoulder construction and road paving can begin.

SOS is continuing to work with government and private industry to find funding for shoulder construction.

Latest Update:

On January 7th, 2010 SOS met with MODOT representatives and a Fred Weber representative. Details of the meeting are below:

Maintenance: MoDOT Maintenance forces are going to begin placing and compacting material in select locations along most of the Lettered Routes, as well as Route 94, southwest of Route 40. This effort is expected to begin next week as weather allows and will most likely continue into the spring. Work will begin along Route D. MoDOT is expecting to use stockpiled material it has, but will discuss with FW the possibility of using material they have at their quarry near New Melle.

Construction: MoDOT will open bids for a construction project on Route DD, from just south of Route 40 to Frontier Middle School, in the spring of 2010. This project will add shoulders in all the places where there are no Shoulders and also add turning lanes to Route DD at Sommers Road. Construction is expected to begin in June
2010 and be complete by Fall 2010. No other projects of this type are funded for construction in this area at this time.

There was considerable discussion on what the scope of future shoulder construction projects should or would be MoDOT is currently surveying the right of way along Routes D and DD and will use that survey information to Help determine how the new improvements will look MoDOT does not want to acquire any additional right of way (ROW) or impact utility lines located on ROW. MoDOT also wants to build as many miles of improvement as possible with the limited funding that may be available. More on this as more survey information is gathered and design plans start getting developed.

Design: MoDOT has begun work to develop plans for adding shoulders along Routes D and DD. Plans to add Shoulders along Route 94 down to Defiance are nearly complete.

SOS handed out a packet of information to the attendees hi-lighting what SOS feels are the highest priorities in regards to shoulder construction projects. SOS and MoDOT pretty much agree on the highest priorities and will work together as we move forward on design, and as construction funding possibilities present themselves.

Fred Weber Inc. is willing to contribute tens of thousands of tons of rock to assist in the effort of getting shoulders added to the 60 plus miles of MoDOT roadways tentatively identified for future improvements in this area. How this material is provided to the job site and whether some of the material is used during maintenance effort is
open to discussion. After MoDOT begins work to address edge drop offs, MODOT will work with Fred Weber on the possibilities of using some of the available material. MODOT will also discuss with St. Charles County about the possibility of using this material to construct
permanent improvements as part of a cost share project.

More details will develop on this proposal as we move forward with maintenance, design and construction initiatives.

SOS has been to Jefferson City two times to meet with State Government Representatives and Officials.

On February 18, 2010 St Charles County announced a $3 million, ten percent maching grant.

Meanwhile, time marches on.  Since the town hall meeting; while we are waiting for this safety issue to be addressed, there have been 13 more accidents and 15 more injured people and 2 more deaths.