Our Opinion: Traveling in another dimension – The Work Zone

The News Tribune

You are traveling in another dimension, a dimension not only of signals and orange barrels, but of progress. You’re moving into a land of highway construction and activity. You’ve just crossed over – into The Work Zone.

Highway work zones may not contain all the oddities of “The Twilight Zone” – a popular television series during the early 1960s – but it is a place to expect the unexpected.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is observing National Work Zone Awareness Week, through Friday.

“Each year we observe Work Zone Awareness Week to remind motorists to slow down, eliminate distractions, and pay attention in work zones,” said MoDOT Director Dave Nichols. “This year we repeat this message with heavy hearts, after losing yet another member of the MoDOT team last year.”

Clifton Scott, a motorist assist operator for MoDOT, was struck and killed on Sept. 21 by a vehicle traveling through an area where traffic control had just been established to respond to a collision on I-70 in Independence.

He became one of 16 MoDOT workers who died doing their job since 2000.

“While we thoroughly train our team to take safety measure when working near traffic,” Nichols said, “we need every driver to watch out for highway workers and do their part to make sure everyone can return home safely.

MoDOT officials emphasize that not all work zones look the same. Ongoing construction projects are marked with signs, barricades and other traffic control devices to alert motorists approaching the area. But those indicators may not be as apparent in emergency situations, temporary lane closures or mobile operations, such as lane striping and mowing.

Lawmakers last year also extended the state’s “Move Over” law to MoDOT vehicles displaying flashing amber and white lights.

The law requires vehicle to switch lanes, when safe to do so, when approaching a vehicle stopped on the roadside.

Roadway construction is a sign of spring. And drivers will find …

There’s a signpost up ahead, advising motorists to slow down and exercise caution before entering – The Work Zone.

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