ST. LOUIS, MO - MoDOT employees, their families, partners and the public, will take to the streets to honor individuals who have been injured or lost their lives in work zones and to keep others safe.
Saturday, about 400 people will walk, jog and even run in MoDOT's first Work Zone Awareness 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk in Chesterfield. They hope to help motorists remember that construction season is underway and to watch out for workers in those highway construction and maintenance work zones. In late 2013, three fatalities and 411 crashes were recorded in St. Louis work zones.
•· Some of those workers like Mark Fresen, know what it's like to be the victim of a work zone crash. Fresen was a St. Louis maintenance worker in 2009, when he was struck in a work zone on Interstate 70 in St. Louis County. He suffered disabling injuries. Fresen, now uses a motorized wheel chair and plans to attend the Saturday run and walk. He believes his presence is testimony to what can happen if motorists are distracted in work zones.
•· Senior maintenance worker, Daryl Swindle's truck mounted attenuator (TMA) has been struck twice in 14 months. The most recent incident was Wednesday. Swindle was featured in MoDOT's work zone awareness video in 2013 discussing a crash he survived on I-70 in St. Charles County, earlier that year. See Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXjODdwO25g.
•· Some workers, like Ken Hoierman, have paid the ultimate price while working on the roadways. In 2006, Hoierman, a St. Louis motorist assist worker, was killed in the line of duty while assisting emergency response units on Interstate 55 in South County.
MoDOT's St. Louis Fit 4 Life Team organized the event to bring attention to increasing number of workers who will be on the roadways, this spring. They will also memorialize workers and others who have been injured or killed in work zones.
April is considered the start of construction season across most of the country. The race will wrap up National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 7-11.
"April is the time construction and maintenance crews are out on the roadways and we do our best to mark our work zones and be visible. This is the first time we've included the run as part of our efforts to educate the public about work zone safety, and we need motorists to help us. If we all work together, everyone can go home safely," said Tom Blair, MoDOT's assistant district engineer.
Online registration for the event is closed but participants may still register on site until race time tomorrow. Registration is $20. Races begin at 8 a.m. at the Transportation Management Center located at 14301 South Outer Forty in Chesterfield. All participants will receive a race T-shirt and medal. Awards will be presented to male and female overall winners, and age category winners.