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Springfield, MO

MoDOT Southwest District names new lead engineer

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A familiar face for the Missouri Department of Transportation recently stepped into the role of lead engineer for the Southwest District, succeeding Becky Baltz, who retired Nov. 30.

Travis Koestner has two decades of experience with MoDOT and previously served as the assistant district engineer for MoDOT’s Central District office in Jefferson City. Baltz had worked with MoDOT for over 30 years and served as Southwest District engineer since 2011.

Koestner, who officially began Dec. 1, said an early priority is meeting and interacting with the 780-plus MoDOT employees in the district. 

“I don’t want them going too long without seeing who the district engineer is for the area because I want to be able to listen to their concerns,” he told Springfield Business Journal this morning. 

He also has been meeting with partners and planning organizations in order to understand what other types of projects would best serve the area. The district comprises 21 counties, 6,500 miles of road, 13,000 square miles and a population of nearly 930,000.

Recent discussions centered on the handling of inclement weather as well as pavement replacement on U.S. Highway 65 in the Queen City this year.

“Our infrastructure is just getting old. The highways in Missouri, they don’t last forever. They take continual attention and treatment – to take care of what we have,” he said. “Our staff is really working on it as hard as they can to lessen the inconvenience to the public as much as possible.

“A lot of folks don’t realize how much actual road work our maintenance staff does as far as cutting brush, keeping the stripes on the road and keeping the lights and everything going to keep things safe.”

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