In March, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced a five-year plan that calls for reducing the department’s staff size and cutting costs, with the goal of keeping major highways in good condition and improving minor roads.

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Seven months later, the department says it is on track to reduce costs by more than $200 million in the next five years and has already identified $64 million to use toward fixing the pavement on lettered and rural routes.

MoDOT Interim Director Kevin Keith says his department is taking a hard look at its maintenance operations, including snow removal, signing, striping, mowing and pavement maintenance, to find ways to increase efficiency and save money.

The savings will be used to make improvements to the state’s minor roads. Only 60 percent of Missouri’s minor roads are in good condition, while 86 percent of major roads are rated good.

“Our number one priority is making the best use of our existing resources,” Keith says.

The agency is also shrinking the size of its workforce. Since the end of February, MoDOT has decreased staff size by 201 employees and is on course to eliminate 400 positions by June 2013 without layoffs.

Instead the department is not filling most vacated positions.

The department’s other priorities include delivering the projects in its five-year construction program, keeping major roads in good condition, maintaining the condition of state bridges and providing outstanding customer service.

“With less money available for transportation, we have to modify the way we do business,” Keith says. “But we’re going to do so in a way that won’t compromise safety or customer satisfaction.”