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Representatives from MoDOT, IDOT, law enforcement and construction contractors held a press conference on the Popular Street Bridge ramp at I-44 to encourage motorists to slow down and pay attention as they drive through work zones across the state of MIssouri and Illinois.
Work Zone Safety: "See Orange, Slow Down, Safe Lives"
by Bob Moore, SLFP.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), March 23, 2015 - Every spring, MoDOT and IDOT begin preparing for the summer season of roadwork across the states. The observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week, March 23-27, is designed to encourage motorists to slow down and pay attention as they drive through work zones.
The theme for this year's National Work Zone Awareness Week is "Expect the Unexpected."
Representatives from MoDOT, IDOT, law enforcement and construction contractors held a joint press conference, Monday morning, on the Popular Street Bridge ramp at I-44 to deliver a resounding message for work zone safety: Please slow down, refrain from texting and pay attention in work zones.
Greg Horn, district engineer of St. Louis region, said, "It's been a decade that we've been telling people to slow down in work zones." He Hightlighted big projects including the Popular Street Bridge, I-44, I-270 and I-70 in the St. Louis county.
Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
Driver inattention was the second highest cause of work zone crashes in 2014. Driving too closely was number one, Horn said.
The average text takes five seconds to read. Traveling at 55 mph, you will travel more than the length of a football field-blindfolded. MoDOT's slow moving maintenance operations move as slow as 10 mph and if you aren't paying attention to the road, you will come up on the closed lane very quickly.
Jeff Church, project implementation engineer for IDOT and District 8, began his remarks with a message from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner who signed a proclamation designating this week as "Work Zone Safety Week" in Illinois.
"We want everyone to arrive at their destination safely. Pay attention, conditions change throughout the work zone with sudden lane closures and speeds and workers performing various activities," said Church.
He emphasized that more than 4,300 motor vehicle crashes occur in Illinois work zones every year. Provisional data shows that 29 people, including three workers, were killed in Illinois work zone crashes in 2014.
"We are going to continue the using speed indicator signs ahead of our work zones and construction sites on our interstates. We will also be expanding the Smart Work Zone technology using computers and sensors that will give real-time feedback to motorists passing the work zone projects," stated Church over the loud noise from traffic along I-44.
More than 4,300 motor vehicle crashes occur in Illinois work zones every year. Provisional data shows that 29 people, including three workers, were killed in Illinois work zone crashes in 2014.
Captain Joe Collins, Illinois State Highway Patrol, noted that "Troopers will be patroling work zones. We will work alongside highway workers to monitor traffic flow and identify motorists that disobey work zone speed limits and other applicable laws."
Captain Joe Collins, Illinois State Highway Patrol, said "We will be using photo speed enforcement vans with the latest equipment and radar photo technology designed to record the speed of vehicles, their license plate and the driver."
Fines for speeding in work zones are $375 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for a second offense, whether or not workers are present. If workers are present, motorists can lose their driver's license for up to 90 days after a second violation. The penalty for hitting a worker is a fine up to $10,000 and 14 years in prison.
"We will also be using photo speed enforcement vans with the latest equipment and radar photo technology designed to record the speed of vehicles, their license plate and the driver," stated Collins.
Illinois has adopted distracted driving laws that prohibit the use of all hand-held electronic devices while driving at all times, work zones included. The use of electronic communications devices or any other electronic device, to text, e-mail, compose, read or send electronic messages or access internet sites while driving a motor vehicle also is prohibited.
Any time highway workers are present on a Missouri roadway - whether it's a long term lane closure, a moving operation, or shoulder work - your safety and the safety of those workers depends on drivers' focus and attention. The state Slow Down and Move Over law includes MoDOT vehicles parked with amber/white lights flashing. Motorists are required to slow down and change lanes when approaching MoDOT vehicles or law enforcement and emergency vehicles with lights flashing.
"The law is simple: If you see flashing lights on the side of the road, move over to give workers and emergency personnel plenty of room to stay safe," said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright. "If you can't move over on a crowded highway, you should slow down as you pass them. We want you and our workers to make it home safe every day."
Warmer Weather Means Potholes and Repair Crews
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), March 8, 2015 - As the weather starts to warm up, MoDOT crews will be out in full force to repair potholes and refresh striping.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and move over when they see a MoDOT vehicle with flashing lights. Also be aware that there could be three or more maintenance vehicles spaced out over some distance to complete maintenance work.
All work is weather permitting and may be shifted due to inclement weather.
In the City of St. Louis, motorists are asked to report potholes locations so crews can respond quickly to patch them. When you discover a pothole, please make note of the hundred block and street (or intersection). Report the pothole by contacting the Citizens' Service Bureau (CSB) at 314-622-4800 or online at stlouis-mo.gov.
Gateway Guide Offers Live Views of St. Louis Traffic
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com) - Does your daily commute catch you by surprise? Is it smooth sailing or are there crashes and other incidents on your path home that will cause you delays? Check out MoDOT's new and improved Gatewayguide.com website for live traffic information and alerts before you leave for work or home.
MoDOT's new GatewayGuide.com website shows nearly 300 live camera views updating every couple of seconds, displays real-time information on incidents and work zones with lane closures and is mobile friendly for your smart phone or other cellular device.
"You can sign up for personalized My STL Traffic alerts specific to the highway you use at the times you need it each day," said MoDOT Assistant District Engineer Tom Blair. "These alerts can be sent to you by text or email to the device you choose and will inform you of crashes or other lane closures. Our goal is to keep traffic moving. The better informed you are of current road conditions, the better choices you can make for a quick, safe trip."
The new website provides a tour of camera views from one end of an interstate to the other. It also shows a live Twitter feed from MoDOT's @StLouisTraffic. Check out the new website at www.gatewayguide.com.
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