Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dead Man's Curve

I'm usually lighthearted but a couple things about country living are serious and one is flash-flooding; another is road conditions. After two fatalities in one year people around here organized to petition Missouri Dept of Transportation to "straighten out" Highway FF, a road most of us drive every day.

FF, five miles long, parallels the curves in LaBarque Creek, resulting in three significant curves and a low spot where the creek empties into the Meramec (photo was taken while standing on that bridge), and then it curves again, away from the Meramec toward the bigger highway. For most of its length it doesn't have shoulders and can't be widened. Used to be okay when fewer people lived here and parents didn't hand out cars to their kids, and people weren't so harried as to wait until the last minute to drive anywhere. FF was probably once a footpath and then a horse-and-buggy road. I appreciate that it respects the creek and hated hearing about "straightening" it, even after I had my life's first-ever wreck, on FF during a snowstorm, sliding off into the road shoulder just after the third curve. $4000 in damage but not a scratch on me, thank God. Another gift was in it: a good excuse not to show up at work.

So after a 20-year-old and then a well-liked local merchant (who wasn't buckled) were killed on FF, both in broad daylight and at the same curve, the campaign began with a billboard and some publicity, and because MoDOT doesn't have funds to "straighten" the curves it's going to change the way they're paved to reduce the amount of "super elevation" (slope across roadway) that you can see here is significantly banked. Work begins in 2013. At that time all who use Highway FF will be taking that 18-mile detour I took in '02 during the widening of Highway F (which is different from FF).

No comments: