UDOT warning people to stay out of summer construction zones

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WEST JORDAN — As the weather heats up and we all spend more time outside, the Utah Department of Transportation is warning everyone to stay out of construction zones.

The Mountain View Corridor, located on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley, has become a favorite site for invaders just playing around. UDOT shared video of a dirt biker riding along the highway under construction.

Map of Mountain View Corridor [click image to enlarge]
Map of Mountain View Corridor [click image to enlarge]

"It's just not a safe place for them to be," said Teri Newell, UDOT project manager for the Mountain View Corridor.

UDOT officials took KSL News to an area along the 5600 West corridor at about 7000 South. Massive earth movers were leveling out a large area that will soon be a freeway.

They'll be at it, along with other heavy machinery, on this 16-mile stretch of the planned freeway, transit and trail system until construction on phase one ends late next year.

But not everyone steers clear of the obvious work zone. Workers see dirt bikes and more out there regularly.

"We've had issues with people coming onto the corridor on dirt bikes, ATVs, bicycles and horses, trying to recreate within the corridor," Newell said.

UDOT officials also want to make sure kids do not stray onto the huge construction zone, or anywhere else in the state. They take a "Think Safety" campaign to schools near construction zones to help educate children.

Work Zone Crash Data, 2008-2010

YearTotal crashesTotal fatalities
<a href="http://ut.zerofatalities.com/"target=_blank>Zero Fatalities</a> safety campaign

KSL News visited with the kids at Daybreak Elementary School after their assembly. It was obvious they got the message loud and clear.

When we asked fifth-grader Sarah Owen what the red tape around a construction site meant to her, she replied, "Don't go in there because you can hurt yourself and you can fall in holes. You need to think safe."

Newell says the movements of the large machinery can change and catch any unauthorized visitors by surprise. The machine operators aren't necessarily expecting to brake for anyone showing up on a horse or an ATV either.

"We also have areas that we excavate and may have holes where utilities are being put in," Newell said. "There are a lot of unexpected things here."

Across the state, UDOT has more than 201 active work zones this summer. Stay out, officials say; or if you're driving through a highway work zone, slow down.

Email: jboal@ksl.com

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Jed Boal


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