The weather is warming up, and that means road construction season is underway. Road and highway construction can cause dangers for both workers and drivers, so the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has designated April 20-24 as Work Zone Safety Awareness week to bring attention to the need for slower speeds and increased caution when traveling in construction zones.
Why is work zone safety awareness so important? Since 1929, sixty Colorado highway department workers have lost their lives on the job, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that nationwide, more than 4,000 people have died in work zone crashes in just the last five years. (The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) provides a report to the Legislature each year on fatal crashes in Colorado state highway work zones; this report is available for access online from our library.)
For motorists, CDOT’s website offers Safe Driving Tips for work zones. CDOT also has resources that can help you plan ahead, so that you can avoid driving through construction zones altogether. Search their Construction/Maintenance Report database to find out exactly when construction is scheduled for your area. You can also sign up for text and email alerts from CDOT.
For those on the construction side, CDOT has developed a guidance document for work zone safety planning during the design phase of a project. CDOT also offers a very helpful Colorado Work Zone Best Practices Safety Guide for construction workers and planners. Additional resources include
- Flagger’s Reference Guide
- Work Zone Safety Guidelines for Municipalities, Utilities and Contractors
- Work Zone Safety and Mobility Process Review
- Work Zone Speed Control