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During essential travel, watch out for work crews

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation joins transportation workers and officials throughout the country in observing the annual National Work Zone Awareness Week April 20-24.

“By following public health guidance and taking more precautions, road crews are continuing work on projects that will be essential to our recovery. If you need to travel, please watch out for orange barrels and drive safely through work zones,” WisDOT Secretarydesignee Craig Thompson said.

Following Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order, passenger vehicle traffic on Wisconsin highways is about half of its previous levels. These conditions can allow crews to expand work zones for maintenance or construction projects without causing delays.

“Even with fewer vehicles on the road, drivers still need to stay focused. Things can change in a heartbeat – even at a reduced speed,” said Tony Burrell, superintendent of the Wisconsin State Patrol. “We ask that everyone be careful especially when you see orange barrels.” In Wisconsin, work zones include major highway construction and rolling maintenance operations as well as emergency response, municipal projects and utility work along local roads. Driving safely through work zones not only protects crew members, it also protects drivers and fellow motorists. Drivers and passengers make up the majority of those injured or killed in work zone crashes.

According to preliminary state figures, there were more than 2,400 work zone crashes throughout the state in 2019. Work zone crashes in Wisconsin last year caused 899 injuries and 18 deaths.

Work Zone Awareness Week is sponsored by federal, state and local transportation officials to draw attention to the safety needs of road workers during construction season.

Before traveling, drivers are encouraged to check 511 Wisconsin ( or use the 511 Wisconsin smartphone app for updates on road conditions and traffic flow.