Department of Highways, District 10
Safety in road construction areas to be highlighted next week
(Hear an audio PSA here:
JACKSON, KY – When two employees of a tree-trimming service were struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in Pike County last week, the news hit home for employees of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
“The initial reports were that they were state highway department workers,” said Mark Westfall, chief district engineer for the Department of Highways District 10, who previously worked in Pike County. “While this was a tragic incident, we are grateful that our employees were not involved. However, this horrible accident reinforces just how dangerous work along our highways can be.”
April traditionally marks the start of road construction season in Kentucky. To emphasize the need for driver safety in highway work zones, Work Zone Safety Week will be observed across Kentucky next week, April 12-16, to remind drivers of the hazards involved for motorists and construction workers alike in areas where road work is being done.
Again this year, the theme for Work Zone Safety Week in Kentucky is “Slow Down, My Dad (or Mom) Works Here.”
“This theme has been very successful in the past,” said Arch Sebastian, safety officer for District 10. “The people who build and maintain roads are someone’s mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, or otherwise are beloved family members, and we should all use caution when we drive through highway work zones. We would feel uncomfortable if someone drove through our offices at 55 mph. For highway workers, the road is their office.”
In Kentucky, events held across the state will call attention to the need for caution in work zones. This message is especially important to drivers, since 85 percent of all injuries and fatalities in work zones are suffered by motorists.
More than 40,000 people are injured yearly in work zones and thousands are killed. Last year, nine fatalities and 140 injuries were recorded in work zones across the commonwealth. On average, a person dies every 10 hours and someone is injured every 13 minutes in work zone accidents in America.
This year, construction and maintenance activities will be taking place in all 10 counties in the Department of Highways District 10. These include major construction projects as well as resurfacing and routine maintenance procedures such as patching, mowing, spraying and ditching. Work will be performed by state employees as well as contractors.
Drivers are always urged to "Drive Smart" in work zones and be aware of workers, traffic control devices and construction equipment when traveling in areas where projects are ongoing.
Projects that are either underway or are anticipated to begin this year in District 10 include but are not limited to the following:
- KY 15, reconstruction and relocation
- KY 30, resurfacing
- KY 89, reconstruction and relocation
- KY 2460, resurfacing
- KY 52, curve revision
- KY 2016, bridge deck overlay
- KY 7, resurfacing
- KY 3337, resurfacing
- KY 1274, rockfall mitigation
- KY 713, resurfacing
- KY 711, bridge replacement
- KY 1010, resurfacing
- KY 708, resurfacing
- KY 1350, resurfacing
- KY 7, reconstruction and relocation
- KY 15, bridge deck overlay
- Mountain Parkway, bridge expansion joint repairs
- KY 11, guardrail installation
- Mountain Parkway, reconstruction
- KY 15, resurfacing
The Transportation Cabinet is expected to invest in hundreds of highway projects again this year. Cabinet engineers and contractors work cooperatively to design projects and work schedules that minimize delays and crashes.
Here are the “top 10” work zone safety tips.
- Expect the unexpected.
- Slow down.
- Don’t tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you.
- Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the construction workers and equipment.
- Pay attention to the signs.
- Obey road crew flaggers.
- Stay alert and minimize distractions.
- Keep up with the traffic flow.
- Schedule enough time and call 511 or go to www.511.ky.gov for Kentucky traffic and travel information. For traffic updates in the 10-county District 10 area, follow KYTCDistrict10 on Twitter.
- Be patient and stay calm.