Friday, August 21, 2020

Quick actions help prevent a work zone tragedy

By Mike Allende

Having the right equipment in place is important, but without the right people, that equipment can only go so far. And this past Sunday, Aug. 16, we had the right person in the right place at the right time.

Our bridge maintenance crew was at the south end of Seattle's I-5 Ship Canal bridge doing work Sunday morning. Traffic control was set up and a truck mounted attenuator (TMA) was in place protecting the crews. That's when our worker in the TMA noticed a vehicle going around our traffic cones, entering the work zone in an apparent attempt to exit at the closed Roanoke ramp.
When a truck entered a work zone and headed to road workers, our driver in his work truck was able
to pin it against a barrier to avoid tragedy.

Seeing the truck headed for our workers, the driver in the TMA quickly maneuvered his vehicle to force the encroaching truck over to the right, pinning it between the attenuator and the barrier. His quick actions prevented a potential tragedy and we are so thankful for that.

The Washington State Patrol found the driver of the other vehicle was not impaired but was charged with negligent driving.
By staying alert, our colleague in his attenuator truck cut a vehicle off as it entered a closed work zone, protecting our road crew. (Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol)

What's even more remarkable about the story is this was our worker's second incident in his attenuator this year. In late February his TMA was struck by a vehicle racing around slower traffic before the lane closed for a work zone. Our colleague had just returned to work in July after recovering from injuries sustained in that crash.

While we are thankful for our teammate's quick actions and that no one was seriously injured in the most recent incident, work zone collisions are an all-too-frequent part of our road crews' lives. The workers are someone's parent, child, spouse, sibling or friend. They are more than just a hard hat and work vest, and they want to go home safely at the end of the day.
Our truck mounted attenuator is designed to protect work crews and that’s what it did, when our TMA driver stopped a truck that entered a work zone and headed for our crew. (Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol)

Please do your part to help make that happen. Always stay alert for signs indicating an upcoming work zone. Slow down, and give crews as much room as possible. And never – NEVER – enter a road or lane that is closed. It is there for a reason, and that reason is almost always for everyone's safety. Our crews work hard to keep our highways as safe as possible. Please help them out by keeping them safe as well.


Pam Fox said...

Awesome action by our DOT crew. Sorry some fool had to try that dangerous stunt.

ATSF199 said...

Great job and alertness by your TMA driver.
Ridiculous needless incident in February, and now this! And experienced by the same driver. Thank you for keeping our/ WSDOT's workers safe!

Transingly Beautiful said...

From now on, any time I hear someone gripe about why we're paying people to sit in tucks like this, I'm going to point to this. This is why.

hiker said...

Heads-up work. Arguably reckless driving? I hope the guy's insurer learns the circumstances and jacks up his rates.

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