DOT highlights work zone safety

A bridge overlooking Interstate 88 in Princetown was the site of a press conference promoting wor

A bridge overlooking Interstate 88 in Princetown was the site of a press conference promoting work zone safety as the summer driving season approaches.

The state Department of Transportation will hold 11 press conferences this week at highway work sites across the state to highlight National Work Zone Awareness Week. The events promote this year’s national theme: “Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For everyone.”

Despite rain, state DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald was joined Monday by state police Lt. Col. Stephen Maher, Mike Ingalsbe, regional director of Associated General Contractors of NYS, and others overseeing the interstate work zones. State DOT employees at this site were working to repair the steel on a bridge carrying Interstate 88 over the Normanskill Creek from damages caused by a tractor-trailer collision.

“National Work Zone Awareness Week is designated by the Federal Highway Administration to raise driver awareness and reduce the number of vehicle intrusions into work zones, incidents that can cause injuries and fatalities,” said a state DOT statement.

The pouring rain at Monday’s press conference served as a reminder that the jobs of maintenance highway workers are not halted because of bad weather. Beyond the weather, highway workers face potential harm by passing motorists. Last year, there were more than 497 traffic accidents in state DOT work zones, which resulted in 202 injuries and 15 fatalities, Maher said.

McDonald said highway workers put their lives at risk to maintain roads and bridges. “The way people drive in the vicinity of highway maintenance and construction work zones can mean the difference between life and death for motorists, their passengers and those who are working to improve our roadways throughout the year,” she said in a statement.

“Our transportation infrastructure and the people who build it are often taken for granted,” McDonald said. “In commemorating National Work Zone Awareness Week, we hope to raise awareness about the importance of caution in work zones in hopes that all those on our roadways will be able to return home to their families safe and sound at the end of each day,” she said in the statement. “Be alert. Be mindful. Slow down. Be extra cautious,” she advised.

Maher said work zone safety “is and will continue to be high priority; our mission is to save lives.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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