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High Impact Training for NEMO Gravel Road Maintenance

By Echo Menges,

NEMOnews Media Group

The Knox County Commission partnered with commissions in Adair, Lewis, Scotland, and Shelby counties to bring a special road maintenance training event to Northeast Missouri. The Missouri Local Technical Assistance Program (MOLTAP), based at the University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO, is designed to integrate innovative strategies, safety, and problem-solving to give road graders an added edge.

The event, which was hosted by Knox County, could have a noticeable impact on the performance of county road crews throughout the region with the benefits of this particular event affecting what equates to a huge swath of NEMO communities who rely on county gravel roads.

“We were interested in providing this opportunity to our road graders, however, you have to have a minimum number of attendees. We invited commissions from our surrounding counties and the response we got was very good. We have commissions and county road graders from five counties here today,” said Knox County Eastern District Commissioner Ronnie Leckbee. “We wouldn’t have been able to offer this without the participation of our neighbors.”

Trainer Linda Webb led the training event and gave instruction on building and maintaining county gravel roads with an emphasis on grading, crowning, shoulders, ditches, drainage, roadway and driveway culverts, storm sewers, and inlets with added emphasis on safety. Attendees were also given pointers on identifying existing roadway and drainage problems, along with how to solve them, and took a deep dive into determining moisture content in gravel and the importance and makeup of compaction for a good and solid, long-lasting gravel road.

Approximately 35 men, one woman, one little girl and a puppy attended the training, with a mix of attendees being road crew members, county road and bridge supervisors, and county commissioners. Counties paid $40 for each person attending the training. The group gathered at the Knox County Road & Bridge Crew Barn, which is located in Edina.

“I like to have county commissioners here because they get to hear what our ultimate goal is to be, and why we are making roads worse before they get better. It’s their job to work with the public. Motor grader guys are on the road,” said Missouri MOLTAP Gravel Road Training leader Linda Webb.

Between them, the five Northeast Missouri county representatives in attendance are responsible for maintaining thousands of miles of gravel roads throughout the region. To be more exact, there are roughly 2,792 miles of gravel roads between the five counties.

About the Trainer

Webb, who led the training, brought a ton to the educational table. She has a lifetime’s worth of education and on-the-job experience beginning back in 1984 when the Missouri Department of Transportation Northeast Office started hiring women as maintenance workers. Webb joined and learned how to build roads from the ground up packing in an amazing amount of work and training program experience along the way – while also taking college courses.

After helping to introduce safety training and becoming a MoDOT Construction Technician in 1998, Webb moved up to Performance Analyst in 2001 before moving into the Senior Employee Development Specialist position in Jefferson City.