The week of April 9-13, is Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, as designated by the Federal Highway Administration and the Kenosha County Board.
“With a lot of construction going on, a new season starting, we’d like to remind everyone to be more vigilant, to ensure their own safety and that of the crews that are working to improve and maintain our roads,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser.
In each of the last three years, there have been more than 2,000 work-zone crashes in Wisconsin. In 2017 alone, nearly 2,700 crashes occurred in road construction and maintenance zones, resulting in more than 1,000 injuries and six fatalities.
From 2012 through 2017 in Kenosha County, there were 92 crashes in work zones, causing injury to 38 people.
Work zones include major construction and rehabilitation, maintenance, emergency response, utility work, municipal projects and more – any time in which there are flashing lights, signs, barrels or workers on the road.
Drivers are asked to remember that even at a reduced interstate work-zone speed of 55 mph, they are covering the length of a football field in less than four seconds. With narrow, shifting lanes, work zones can present a challenge to drivers under any circumstances, making it all the more important to limit distractions.
In Wisconsin, as of October 2016 it became illegal to talk on a handheld cellphone while driving through a work zone. Fines begin at $40, plus court costs.
“The best way you can help is to avoid distractions, obey posted speed limits, and be courteous and patient while driving,” said Clement Abongwa, director of the Kenosha County Division of Highways.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation also urges drivers to expect the unexpected, and to remain alert at all times.