The Federal Highway Administration and the Kansas Department of Transportation recognize this as National Work Zone Awareness Week. As of Monday morning, it was being observed in Barton County as well after the County Commission approved a proclamation marking the occasion.
“Work zone safety is very important,” Barton County Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips told commissioners. No one likes having to deal with road construction, but it can’t be avoided.
“We are all in a hurry and we are all busy,” Phillips said. “We’re all guilty of driving too fast through work zones.”
But, it is that frustration or lack of attention that can be deadly, he said. In attention is the leading cause for the incidents, most of which take place during the day under good road conditions.
Nationwide, there are about 80,000 work zone wrecks annually. Last year in Kansas, there were 347 people injured and seven killed in such crashes.
“It is dangerous for the workers and the motorists,” Phillips said. He urged everyone to look out for the orange vests worn by crew members and orange cones, as well as to obey the signs, slow down and expect the unexpected.
It is risky business standing in the middle of a busy highway holding a sign or working along the road. But, “they are just doing their jobs.”
“Work zones are a fact of life,” said Commissioner Don Davis, a retire professional truck driver. “Nobody’s time is that important,” and anyone can spare five more minutes to account for road work delays.