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Prepared by Andrew Gates, 314-453-1808

April 12, 2013 09:23 AM
Missouri, Illinois stress driver attention in work zones

ST. LOUIS -During spring, on Missouri and Illinois roadways, April showers means work zones start popping up.

Whether for construction or a slow moving operation to patch potholes or put a fresh coat of paint on roadway stripes, drivers can expect to see more work zones on the roadways starting this month..

The Missouri and Illinois Departments of Transportation, Illinois and Missouri law enforcement representatives and local construction partners will join in their annual news conference to kick off activities in St. Louis for National Work Zone Safety Week, April 15-19. The news conference will be held on the Tower Grove project, on Newstead Road just south of I-64, April 15 at 11 a.m. This year's theme is "We're All in this Together." The week focuses attention on the many work zones on the nation's highways due to the springtime start of the construction season.

Last year, more than 500 vehicles were involved in Missouri work zone crashes in the St. Louis area. Four people died and 13 were disabled due to work zone crashes in 2012.

Both IDOT and MoDOT use many avenues to get information to drivers about upcoming work on roadways. Drivers can get regional information on-line for Illinois construction at http://www.stl-traffic.org/ and for Missouri construction at maps.modot.mo.gov/timi/. Overhead and roadside electronic boards warn drivers of upcoming work zones. Signs let drivers know they are entering a work zone and the safe speeds for traveling through the upcoming construction.

"Our priority is to reduce the number and severity of crashes and save lives on Illinois roadways," said IDOT Acting Region 5 Engineer Jeff Keirn. "We want to remind motorists of the law banning the use of cell phones in work zones, to always drive the posted speed limit and to slow down and move over when approaching emergency, construction and maintenance vehicles."

"MoDOT makes every effort to ensure our work zones are clearly marked and that we let drivers know they are approaching construction on the road ahead," said Ed Hassinger, MoDOT St. Louis region district engineer.

"People should remember that it is now the law to move over or slow down when they see MoDOT or emergency vehicles with flashing lights on the roadway. They are working to make sure the drivers stay safe.  We ask those drivers to pay attention to their surroundings, slow down or move over for flashing lights, and eliminate distractions when driving through construction, so our team stays safe. In a work zone, many lives are on the line," Hassinger said.

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