Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed April 9-13 as Work Zone Awareness Week as part of efforts to prevent traffic crashes, deaths and injuries in construction and maintenance areas along Wisconsin’s roadways.
Drivers are asked to stay alert in work areas, which include major highway construction and rolling maintenance operations as well as emergency response, municipal projects and utility work along local roads. Wisconsin’s efforts are in coordination with National Work Zone Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility.”
“Everyone has the opportunity to set the right example for safety by slowing down, eliminating distractions and being especially cautious driving in areas where workers are present,” said WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross. “Whether we’re working or driving in a work zone, everyone wants to make it home safe at night. Let’s work together to be safe on the roads.”
In 2017, Wisconsin recorded 2,763 crashes in work zones, including 1,067 injuries and six fatalities. The previous year, 2,811 crashes claimed nine lives and caused 1,112 injuries.
“Tragedies can happen in the blink of an eye,” Ross said. “Even at the reduced speed of 55 mph, your car will cover the length of a football field in less than four seconds. It’s important to stay focused and avoid tailgating, giving your undivided attention to the road.”
Along with safety messages on Dynamic Message Signs, other work zone technologies include temporary portable rumble strips used by county maintenance workers and private contractors and Queue Warning Systems, which help to communicate speed reductions and other valuable traffic information ahead of work zones.
Throughout the week, and continuing into the 2018 construction season, WisDOT will periodically display messages on its electronic signs on highways and will use social media to remind drivers to slow down and pay attention on all Wisconsin highways, especially work zones. Television and radio messages about work zone safety will be broadcast statewide.
In addition, officers from the Wisconsin State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies will be deployed in work zones to enforce speed limits and other traffic laws.