NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Transportation is joining states across the nation to remind motorists not to barrel through work zones. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will spread that message statewide during National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 23-27) in an effort to improve safety in Tennessee’s interstate and highway construction and maintenance work zones.
“We are heading into the busiest construction time of the year, and there will be hundreds of active work zones across Tennessee,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “Reducing speeds, staying alert, and exercising caution is the best way to ensure workers and motorists stay safe on our roadways.”
The spring and summer months provide perfect weather for highway work, and motorists will encounter work zones across Tennessee in downtowns, along interstates and in rural areas. Highway work zones can change frequently, making it even more important to pay attention to the road. Last year in Tennessee, fifteen people died in work zone crashes, twelve were either drivers or vehicle passengers, and three were construction workers.
“I was deeply saddened by the loss of two TDOT employees’ last year,” added Commissioner Schroer. These tragedies are sobering reminders of the hazards our highway workers face each and every day. I urge all motorists to remember highway crews are working to improve our roads to make your future commute better.”
The Tennessee Department of Transportation to date has lost 108 employees in the line of duty, most recently, two employees in 2011. TDOT HELP Operator Robert Nowicki was killed while assisting a motorist on Interstate 55 in West Memphis on June 20, 2011 and Highway Maintenance Worker Michael Dalton was killed setting up a work zone on Interstate 40 in Shelby County on September 8, 2011.
Each of TDOT’s regions will draw attention to Work Zone Awareness Week in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville by lighting several buildings across the state in orange. TDOT will also honor the workers who lost their lives by placing a remembrance plaque in their Regional Offices during Work Zone Awareness Week. Work zone safety messages will also be displayed on TDOT’s overhead Dynamic Message Signs on interstates in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville. TDOT has put together a video about the importance of work zone safety; the video can be seen here on TDOT’s YouTube page: http://youtu.be/j8cC9l3RFpM
Updated travel and construction information can be found on the TDOT SmartWay website at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway or you may call 5?1?1. You can also receive traffic alerts via TDOT’s multiple Twitter feeds, including statewide traffic tweets @TN511 or any of TDOT’s other Twitter pages. Smartphone users can use the TDOT SmartWay Mobile website at http://m.tdot.tn.gov/SmartWay/ to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras, messages displayed on overhead Dynamic Message Signs, and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes.
As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go!by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.