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Warm weather brings return of work zone safety concerns

Clark County Highway Commissioner Brian Duell urges people to drive carefully in road construction and maintenance zones. The county’s message is part of the annual National Work Zone Awareness Week observance April 20-24.

“Road workers do an important job that benefits everyone, and just like anyone else they want to make it home to their families at night,” said Duell. “We ask that everyone stay alert and patient and, whenever you can do so safely, please give workers additional space to work.”

Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports there were more than 2,400 work zone crashes throughout the state in 2019 alone. Work zone crashes in Wisconsin last year caused 899 injuries and 18 deaths.

In the prior three-year period, 2017 through 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is reporting Clark County experienced 20 work zone crashes resulting in one fatality and 12 injuries.

Work zones include maintenance jobs such as crack-filling and pothole repair as well as highway construction such as paving. Work zones also include emergency response, utility work, municipal projects and more – any time there are flashing lights, signs, barrels or workers on the road.

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. Generally, crashes occur when drivers speed through a work zone, do not pay attention to changing road conditions, run into other vehicles or highway equipment or drive off the road completely.

“Things can happen very fast in work zones, even when the speed limit is reduced,” said Duell. “It’s important to eliminate distractions, slow down and avoid tailgating.”

Learn more: http://wisconsindot. gov/Pages/safety/education/workzone/ default.aspx