Press release from INDOT
(Seymour, Ind.) – With over $1.5 billion in new Indiana highway projects beginning work, 2011 is shaping up to be Indiana’s largest road construction season on record, surpassing previous years. As part of Work Zone Safety Awareness Week this April 4 through 8, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is helping educate motorists about five of the largest road construction projects that will impact local traffic this year.
1. US 31: Construction carries over from last year to add travel lanes and replace a bridge. The 3.5 mile project in Columbus will have lane restrictions and short closures of some intersecting side streets.
2. I-74: This 8.75 mile slide correction and resurface project is a continuation from last year. This year will focus on resurfacing as most of the other work was completed last year. This project, which runs from S.R. 101 in Ripley County to the Ohio state line in Dearborn County, will have lane restrictions.
3. S.R. 135: Construction for this added lanes project continues from last year. This 1.77 mile project in Johnson County goes from Stones Crossing Road to CR 850N and will have lane restrictions.
4. I-64: This 1.4 mile added lane project goes from I-265 to S.R. 111 in Floyd County. This project is continuing from last year and will have lane restrictions.
5. I-64: This asphalt resurfacing project from S.R. 135 in Harrison County to S.R. 62/64 in Floyd County is scheduled to begin in May. This 12.72 mile project will have lane restrictions and assorted work hours.
On average four out of every five people killed in highway work zones are drivers or passengers, not highway workers, so INDOT is joining with traffic safety personnel nationwide to stress “Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone.” According to the ARIES electronic crash records system, 12 people were killed and 602 people were injured in work zone crashes during 2010.
Steeper fines and penalties await drivers who speed or drive recklessly through a work zone. Under Indiana law, drivers can be fined up to $1,000 for speeding in a work zone. Motorists who drive recklessly or aggressively through a work zone could face fines up to $5,000. Drivers who injure or kill a highway worker may find themselves paying a $10,000 fine or serving up to eight years behind bars. Fines paid are used to fund additional work zone patrols.
To avoid becoming a statistic, INDOT urges drivers to follow the safety tips listed below while driving through work zones. Additional information can be found at INDOT’s work zone safety Web site, www.WorkZoneSafety.IN.gov.
Stay alert! Look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.
Pay attention. Work zone signs will tell you exactly what to expect ahead.
Merge early. If drivers merge as soon as they see the signs, traffic will flow more smoothly.
Slow down. If you’re speeding, you may encounter slowed or stopped traffic within seconds.
Space out. Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle.
Minimize distractions. The three C’s – cell phones, CDs and coffee – are the primary causes of driver inattention.
Plan ahead. Expect delays and allow extra travel time. Select an alternate route if you are running late.