State DOT recognizes work zone safety awareness week

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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - More than 750 people were killed across the country last year in work zone crashes. That death toll includes both workers and the motoring public.

The State Department of Transportation Secretary joined local and federal officials to recognize Work Zone Safety Awareness Week in Northeast Wisconsin as they look to reduce the number of crashes and deaths on roadways.

"Too many crashes, too many deaths in our work zones," says DOT Secretary Dave Ross.

In 2017, six people in Wisconsin were killed in work zone crashes, a grim reminder of the dangers drivers and workers face in construction zone.

"Our biggest concern is the traveling public, and the distracted driving is a big issue right now," says Chris Blazek, DOT Northeast Wisconsin Region Maintenance Supervisor.

According to the DOT, the most common cause of a work zone crash is following too closely. Efforts to warn drivers as they're approaching, entering, and driving through work zones have increased and improved in the past few years, but simple, common sense reminders remain necessary.

Lt. Dan Gruebele is with the Wisconsin State Patrol. He says, "Slow down, don't tailgate, and pay attention. By following these simple rules you'll reach your destination safely and workers can go back to their families each and every night."

While work zone safety awareness is being recognized the week of April 9, it's something drivers needs to pay attention to 365 days a year.

"Our work goes throughout the summer, throughout the fall, throughout the winter," Blazek adds. "We've got crews working on bridges, on the highways. We just ask them to pay attention. And this goes for our county workers, too, who are doing a lot of work for us. They're doing the snow plowing, please give them a lot of space so they can effectively clean the roads."

Because the workers, like the public, want the projects completed as quickly and as safely as possible.

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