The Indiana Department of Transportation held a ceremony to mark the beginning of the highway construction season, an annual event that has the Indiana State Police present to raise awareness on work zone safety. The Department district deputy commissioner, Matt Deitchley, proudly stated that once again this year INDOT is breaking records for the number of road and bridge projects scheduled. More than 1,300 projects are scheduled this year, an INDOT record for a single season. The projects represent a more than US$2 billion investment in the state’s roads and bridges.
The commissioner said that while INDOT wants to promote worker safety, motorists are also at an increased risk of crashing in a construction zone. Four out of five people injured in construction zones are motorists or their passengers. Nationally, there is an average of one work zone crash every five minutes, he said. INDOT wants people to pay attention to signs and slow down in work zones. Indiana State Police Lt. Terry Gose said ISP will be mounting an aggressive traffic enforcement policy in the work zones using ISP resources and patrols from partner towns and cities. He advised motorists to remain undistracted and alert because road configurations during construction season can change overnight and land closures can cause unexpected slow downs or stoppages.
Twenty-six traffic cones representing the 26 lives lost in works zones on Indiana’s highways in 2020 were set up April 27 outside the Borman Traffic Management Center in Gary to mark the launch of National Work Zone Awareness Week. “The issue is very real. There are people who are really at risk. Our hardworking folks want to see their families at the end of the day,” Deitchley said.