IDOT, Illinois State Police kick off National Work Zone Awareness Week

IDOT, Illinois State Police kick off National Work Zone Awareness Week

MARION, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Transportation,  Illinois State Police and construction companies are kicking off National Work Zone Awareness week Tuesday at locations all across the state.

Their goal is to reinforce the message that "Construction is here: Don't be that Driver," letting people know that driving in and around work zones require drivers to be constantly alert and ready for changes.

"Don't be the speeder, don't be the distracted driver and help us get them and the workers there home safely,"  Project Implementation Engineer for IDOT, Keith Roberts said. "Most people don't realize but over 90 percent of the injuries that we speak of are normally the drivers themselves and not the workers."

The safety message is also hoping to reduce the number of work zone crashes, injuries and deaths in Illinois.

According to the National Highway Safety Board, using your cell phone while driving cuts brake time by 18%.

If you cut your brake time, it's more likely you'll crash into the back of the car in front of you if you have to do it quickly.

Illinois State Police and IDOT stated distracted driving and speeding are the main causes of accidents in work ones.

In 2015, Illinois State Police issued more than 24 hundred citations to drivers for speeding in a construction zone.

According to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO),  in 2014, distracted driving was a factor in 16 percent of fatal crashes in work zones, while speeding was a factor in 29 percent.

AASHO states work zone sites can change by the minute, with trucks, construction equipment, and changing traffic patterns, it's a time where being alert can be the difference between life and death.

IDOT also stated some high-impact road projects you can expect in southern Illinois this year.

Here's a profile of some of the larger projects:

An ongoing reconstruction project in Mt. Vernon on I-64 and I-57. In the beginning of May, lanes will be down to one lane at night for about four weeks to allow the contractor to work in the middle lanes.

IDOT states a project on I-57 just south of Marion, from Old Route 13 to I-24  is a revitalization contract that will start right after July 4, and will be a very difficult project. Construction will only be in the southbound lanes, but IDOT officials do anticipate traffic backups. Traffic system updates on alternate routes to take will be available.

An ongoing project south of I-24 on I-57, from I-24 to IL 146; IDOT officials state the northbound and southbound traffic are sharing the northbound lanes of I-57. This project will be going on until the Fall of 2016.

The Wolf Creek Project is another large project, but IDOT officials say most of Route 13 won't be interrupted too much. The contractor will be concentrating on the overpass bridge and the interchange bridge.

Roberts says the budget impasse has not impacted funding for the current construction projects.

"They were funded in FY16 but it's separate, it's a Capital Bill Construction Budget," he said.

For more information about National Work Zone Awareness Week, click here.

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