Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Two requests for this busy construction season

By Mike Allende

We're in the middle of another busy construction season, and we're getting a lot of important work done. We know it's not always easy to have to adjust your travel plans and it can be frustrating waiting in a backup when a lane is closed, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation.

We also have some requests.

Stay in your vehicle

Some of our projects require lane closures with alternating traffic, often led by a pilot car. That means vehicles not being led through the closure have a bit of a wait. We know it can be tempting to exit your vehicle to stretch your legs or take a look at how traffic is moving from the opposite direction.

But please, resist the temptation and stay in your vehicle.
Having people outside their vehicles near work zones while traffic is passing can be a recipe for disaster.

It's simply not safe to have people walking near or in construction zones. We've seen near-misses where people outside their vehicles waiting to get moving find themselves too close to vehicles being led through by the pilot car. Sometimes the person outside their vehicle is distracted by being on their phone or otherwise not paying attention, and doesn't realize that traffic is now passing through. People wandering near the centerline combined with passing vehicles is a recipe for tragedy.

Sometimes, those being led through by the pilot car also are distracted because they're checking out the construction work, or looking at the backup in the opposite direction, or looking at their phones, and may not notice someone waiting outside their vehicle. That's another dangerous situation, and brings us to...

Focus while behind the wheel

Focus. Focus. Focus.

Even if you're being led at low speed by a pilot car, if you're operating a motor vehicle, you can do serious damage to yourself or others if you aren't focused on the road. It only takes a second of inattention to drift into a work zone, potentially hitting a worker or piece of equipment. You also may find yourself following too closely and in a fender bender and/or not paying close attention to your speed.
It can be tempting to get out of your vehicle to stretch while stopped
near a work zone, but it can also create dangerous situations.

Remember, while we've had plenty of workers either hit or nearly hit in work zones, 96 percent of people hurt in work zone collisions are the driver, their passenger or passing pedestrians. Traffic fines are also doubled in work zones. So it's in your best interest to keep your eyes on the road.

Give 'em a brake

The crews working on road projects, the patrol officers helping with traffic control, and the pilot car drivers safely leading people through the area, are all working to keep our highways safe and smooth. It's a tough job working near traffic, knowing that some people are distracted and many people are frustrated. But please, try to remember that all of the people out there are spouses, children, parents and friends and they all want to go home safely at the end of their day. So besides staying focused, remember to give road workers space whenever possible, slow down and be patient. They will try to get you going safely on your way as quickly as possible.

1 comment:

Tom Barr said...

WSDOT needs to understand that travel plans cannot always be changed to accommodate construction.

Many people commute for work now because of the Seattle housing prices. That 'just a 30 minute delay' IS a BIG deal when we have medical appointments to make. We have to take them when available. When booked months in advance we can't reschedule because of WSDOTs construction plans or revisions.

At times WSDOT seems out of touch with reality. Highway 2 is NOT an alternative to I90 when traveling across the state, and in many cases there are NO alternative route anymore. KNOW our roads if you are in the communications dept.

Had WSDOT actually built the 605 freeway (fall city to bothell) we would have had 405 alternatives.

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