JEFFERSON CITY - In work zone crashes everyone loses. Motorists are the ones most likely to be killed or injured in a work zone crash, and too often highway workers are hurt or killed as well. Work Zone Awareness Week is April 6-10, and the Missouri Department of Transportation is reminding drivers: don't barrel through work zones.
In 2008, 12 people were killed in work zones, an increase from 2007 when five people were killed. However, fewer people were injured with approximately 600 serious injuries in work zones in 2008, compared to 792 in 2007. Three MoDOT employees lost their lives on the job during 2008. Speed, inattention and tailgating are cited as the cause of most crashes in areas where roadwork is under way.
"We need drivers to pay attention to highway construction and drive with caution to prevent senseless deaths and injuries," said Pete Rahn, MoDOT director. "We're also asking the public to rate work zones they've driven through. That first-hand information will help us make adjustments and increase safety for motorists and our work crews."
To fill out a Work Zone Customer Survey and help improve MoDOT work zones, visit www.modot.org/workzones/comments.htm.
MoDOT is also working to draw attention to work zone safety and honor its 128 fallen workers through Operation Orange, an initiative to turn significant state landmarks orange during the week. In addition to MoDOT buildings statewide, other facilities that will be orange include: the Six Flags marquee, Busch Stadium home of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Boone County Courthouse, the Shelter Insurance Gardens in Columbia, Hammonds Field home of the Springfield Cardinals, the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge and the Branson Landing. More information about Operation Orange can be found at www.modot.org/operationorange.
At a ceremony this evening at MoDOT's headquarters in Jefferson City, a sign will be unveiled marking the location of a future memorial honoring the men and women who have lost their lives improving Missouri's highway infrastructure.
Additionally, MoDOT will remind motorists of the need to drive safely in work zones around the state with radio and internet banner ads, as well as safety advertisements on fuel pump tops at various gas stations and messages on the department's changeable message boards.
The 2009 construction season will be filled with roadwork as MoDOT continues its Better Roads, Brighter Future program to improve 5,600 miles of roadways by 2011. There will also be an increase in work on bridges this year, thanks to the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Plan. Additional projects will also be under way due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
For more information about construction projects statewide, look for work zone locations on MoDOT's interactive traveler information map at http://www.modot.org/ or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
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