Work zone safety stressed for local rehab projects


Reporter - Briana Conner
Photographer - Jason Thomason

PADUCAH, Ky. —  It's not just tax day. April 15th is also the beginning of National Work Zone Safety Week. Considering the I-24 rehabilitation project, local contractors and safety coordinators want to remind drivers that it only takes a split second. The consequences of reading a text, sending a text, or changing the radio station, especially in a work zone, could be deadly.

According to The Federal Highway Administration, someone dies every 15 hours, or is injured every hour, in a work zone in the United States. In Kentucky, 11 people have died and 471 others have been injured in highway construction and maintenance work zones over the last three years. These numbers are the reason why the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is dedicating a week-long campaign to work zone safety.

The contractors working along I-24 are hoping that the drivers passing by have their backs. Safety Coordinator Melissa Holland said, "The most important thing want to tell people is to pay attention."

Most of the workers don't have a horror stories to share. Brian McReynolds says the ones who do, most likely aren't around to tell it. "The fear is that during an accident, the outcome is gonna be tragic or possibly fatal," he said.

Holland said despite the caution signs, the loud colored vests, and the flashing lights, some drivers still aren't watching the road like they should be. "We have moms and dads, and sons and daughters who are out here working, so it behooves of you to pay attention while you're out here," she said.

The speed limit has dropped by ten miles an hour to 55. Along with slowing down, Holland said it's also a good idea to put your cell phone down too. She said, "If you can not do that at all, that'd be awesome. All of our people would appreciate that greatly." They are people who are watching out for you, and asking you to watch out for them. "There's no more that we can do, truthfully. It's really up to the drivers on the road," Holland said.

Kentucky State Police are also heavily patrolling work zones to make sure people are complying with all of the traffic and safety laws.