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Commissioners Endorse Kraemer’s Concerns About Highway 61

The Ste. Genevieve County Commission agreed to add its voice to Bill Kraemer’s concerns about two areas on Highway 61 in the county.

Kraemer, president of Quarry & Allied Workers’ Local 830 and a candidate last year for the Missouri House of Representatives, visited the commission last Thursday to share his worries about the intersections.

The most troubling, he said, is the intersection of Industrial River Road and Highway 61.

Kraemer said he has “personally witnessed many near-miss accidents” there. He said that the area around the turnoff has grown substantially in recent years, with Tower Rock Stone, Bluff City Minerals, Luhr Brothers and Lhoist North America combining for nearly 250 employees in addition to delivery trucks, vendors and residential traffic.

He said it is especially dangerous at night.

“Anyone who knows the area knows how hard it is to find in the dark,” Kraemer said. “It’s not uncommon for ground fog to make this intersection even harder to see.”

Seeing the small green road sign in the dark is difficult.

“I have no clue [how close I’m getting to it],” Kraemer said, “and I’ve been there 20 years.”

He said that some lighting would help at night. He said he asked the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to put a flashing yellow light in, but “it was denied immediately.”

Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said MoDOT personnel have said flashing yellow lights have been deemed ineffective and are being phased out.

Kraemer said there is also danger from cars attempting to pass slow-moving vehicles preparing to turn, only to face oncoming traffic.

“You might as well put a brown bag over their head,” Kraemer said.

He said he thinks something needs to be done before a fatality takes place.

“I think this is the time,” he told the commissioners.

Nelson said that although MoDOT’s motto is “Safety First,” it seems to take a fatality to get much action from the state agency.

The commissioners also agreed with Kraemer’s second concern, that the speed limit should be stepped off from 55 miles per hour to 45 and perhaps 35 coming into the city limits from the south on Highway 61.

Nelson said there is one stretch where one side of the road is within the city limits and the other is not.

“It still needs to be lowered,” Nelson said.

The commissioners agreed they would send the letter from Kraemer to MoDOT and attach a letter of their own, agreeing with his arguments. Associate clerk Michele Gatzemeyer will draft the letter.

See complete story in the March 20 edition of the Herald.

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