Safety Encouraged as Road Construction Season Approaches

Safety Encouraged as Road Construction Season Approaches

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Jed Boal ReportingGet ready for orange cone zones as highway construction crews hit the roads across the state. Construction zones can be dangerous, for the workers and for those of us driving through. UDOT and the Highway Patrol want us to give the workers a brake.

This is National Work Zone Awareness Week,a time to remind motorists to slow down and pay attention in work zones. We found out today that too many motorists don't bother.

No matter where you drive in Utah this spring and summer fall you will run into construction. Crews will work on State Route 201 all summer and a three-month I-15 restriping project starts soon; it's another busy summer for road crews.

John Njord, UDOT Executive Director: "We don't want to be out here any longer than is necessary, any more than you want us out here. We want to get in get the work done, and get out."

In 2003 Utah had 1200 work zone crashes; 600 people were hurt and four people killed.

Dan Young, UDOT: "You have to be cautious and careful, and be aware of the traffic and always play it safe."

While construction workers are in a risky spot on the road, they are not at greatest risk in work zone crashes. Four out of five people killed in work zones are drivers and passengers.

State troopers let us use their laser guns to see just how fast the traffic is moving through one work zone. On our clock they were moving at a very safe speed, but troopers tell us they regularly clock motorists going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, and even as fast as 95 miles per hour in a work zone."

UHP Major Neil Porter worked on a road crew when he graduated from high school and says it's always been a dangerous job.

Maj. Neil Porter, Utah Highway Patrol: "I heard the horns honking, the tires squealing and the drivers yelling. I think they were convinced I was hard of hearing, because there were a lot of hand signals back then."

You'll see plenty of signs in plenty of time warning you to slow down or pay a hefty fine.

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