KY Transportation Cabinet urges safer driving; safer construction work zones

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Construction zones often require drivers to slow down and be alert.

But, sometimes they are the scenes of tragic accidents.

WAVE 3 got a first hand look on the other side of those orange barrels Saturday as part of a new campaign by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The KYTC says 22 people were hurt in more than 100 crashes in 2010, on roads in District 5 which includes Louisville.

As the highway construction season picks up, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is hoping to curb those numbers by emphasizing safer drivers and safer work zones.

Saturday morning, crews poured concrete and continued to work on fixing part of the Gene Snyder Expressway near Shelbyville Road.

But, with every single car, truck or semi, possible danger zooms past at 55 miles per hour in this particular zone. Oftentimes traffic moves by within feet of workers.

"They're on edge," Matt Bullock, a Chief District Engineer for District 5 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said "I don't think after may years of working next to traffic, you ever get used to it, really."

Driver distraction is a main concern for the Transportation Cabinet.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says in 2010, 1 person was killed and 116 people were injured in construction zones across the Commonwealth.

Nationally, the Cabinet says there's a construction zone death every 13 hours and an injury every 13 minutes.

"The ultimate consequence is somebody's life," Bullock said "Whether it's construction workers or the drivers."

Will Nolan is the Construction Project Manager on this particular project for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

"I have seen on many occasions, men walking near those barrels and trucks and cars just take those barrels out," He said.

As crews were hard at work Saturday, with the ever present roar of traffic, the Transportation Cabinet has a message for drivers in hopes of making construction zones across the Metro and the Commonwealth safer:

"Read the signs," Nolan said "Know what's going on when you're going into the work zones. Just like in any other project, you'll see signs saying right lane closed/left lane closed whatever the case is, people get to where they don't pay attention to those."

there are many construction and maintenance projects that'll be conducted in 2011, in District 5, which includes Louisville.

The Transportation Cabinet urges people to "Drive Smart" in work zones and be aware of workers, equipment and traffic control in construction zones.

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