This week marks the unofficial start to the highway construction season.
And for 2017, it’s shaping up to be a big one.
Rebecca Brumfield tells us what drivers can expect to see.
INDOT will oversee more than 300 construction contracts, totaling more than $1,000,000,000 in capital investment for the state of Indiana.
Here locally, a few of those have already started.
Like at Exit 11, as construction by Pilot gas station and underneath the overpass of I-70 is underway.
You can expect to see traffic backed-up around busy times of the day.
Like your commute to and from work, on Sunday’s before and after church and before and after school.
Another project in the works is this 12 mile stretch of I-70.
Both East and West bound lanes will be down to one lane beginning at the eight to nine mile marker.
It’s pegged to last through November of this year.
Along with being aware of the work, officials also want you to keep safety in mind.
They want you to know “work zone safety is in your hands.”
“At sixty miles-per-hour, if you take your eyes off the road for a second, you’ve missed 88-feet of roadway,” says Jason Tiller, INDOT communications director.
You’d miss it all in the blink of an eye and that’s one of INDOT’s biggest concerns.
“We want to make sure that we keep our workers on the roads safe, whether they’re a contractor or INDOT personnel,” says Tiller. “You know, these people have families that they want to get home to every night.”
According to a release from Governor Eric Holcomb, since 2014, at least 12 people have been killed each year in INDOT work zone crashes.
80% of those killed are drivers or their passengers.
“Impatience and driver inattention [and more] all those things lead to crashes,” says Sergeant Joe Watts of the Indiana State Police agency. “And we want to make sure that our workers go home safe every night and we want to make sure that you, the motorist, go home safe every night.”
Those large projects this year shape up to resurfacing 3,047 miles of pavement, rehabilitating or constructing 486 bridges and small structures and more.
With lots of projects locally and across the state, it’s important to keep road rage at a minimum.
“A lot of people get really annoyed when they see orange barrels,” says Tiller. “And I get it. I totally understand because I’m the same way. But on the same token, I understand that when I see orange barrels, it means progress. It means that there is something going on that’s going to enhance my experience on the roadway.”
The possibility of a costly ticket is another good reason to keep your road rage and distractions at bay.
“We’re doing our part,” says Sgt. Watts. “We’re going to have ample enforcement. We’re going to have increased enforcement in the zones. We just need you to do your part as the driver.”
INDOT will use work zone signage, traffic alerts, social media, and project communication across the state to keep Hoosiers up to date on this year’s construction projects.
Drivers can also use an interactive online map to see which projects are under construction across the state.
Click here for that link.
INDOT urges drivers to follow the following safety tips to keep work zones safe:
- Look for reduced speed limit narrow driving lanes and highway workers.
- Work zone signs will tell drivers exactly what to expect ahead.
- If drivers merge as soon as they see signs traffic will flow much more smoothly.
- Don’t speed there could be slowed or stopped vehicles in the construction zone.
Keep your distance.
- Maintain a safe distance on all sides of the vehicle.
- The three C’s: cell phones, CDs, and coffee are the primary cause of driver inattention.
- Expect delays during construction season and allow extra travel time, or select an alternate route.