Several major highway construction projects are in full swing throughout the Treasure Valley and across Idaho. The renewed activity prompts a reminder for motorists to slow down in work zones as part of “Work Zone Safety Week,” April 3-7.
ITD, the Associated General Contractors of Idaho and the Ada County Highway District emphasize the importance of slowing down in work zones to ensure the safety of motorists and construction workers.
As Idaho grows, road improvement projects play a major role in ensuring safe, reliable transportation systems. To minimize the impact on commuters, it is increasingly common for road construction work to be done at night and during off-peak commute hours – making it all the more important for motorists use extra caution in work zones, regardless of the time of day or night.
“Work zones are tangible evidence that Idaho takes care of its infrastructure,” said Eric Shannon, ITD District 3 Engineer. “We’re also asking Idahoans to take care of themselves, their passengers and the hard-working folks who keep us going.”
In 2004, there were 265 collisions in Idaho work zones; 176 of those were in southwest Idaho, which includes the Boise area. Statewide, eight motorists died in work zone collisions and one construction worker was injured that same year. Nationwide, 1,068 people were killed in highway work zones.
Research shows that drivers believe most people killed in construction zone accidents are workers, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Organizations; however, four out of five work zone collisions nationwide involve drivers or passengers.
Rear-end collisions account for most work zone crashes. Following too closely, inattentive driving, failing to yield the right of way and improper lane changes also contribute to accidents in work zones. Fines for speeding in a highway work zone are increased to $82.50 from the standard fine of $53.
“In our everyday commutes, we see men and women in orange vests, doing stuff that slows us down, stands in our way, makes us late,” Shannon added. “So we hit the gas to get past these inconveniences. In that rush, accidents happen.”
For information about road work on the state highway and interstate system, call 511 or visit 51.idaho.gov.
Next week: Tips for driving safely through highway work zones.