The agency is urging motorists to be careful when traveling through highway work zones.
Baltimore, Md (KM). More road projects are cropping up across Maryland as the weather gets warmer. The State Highway Administration is launching its work zone safety awareness campaign to remind motorists what they should do when approaching a highway construction area. “First and foremost thing to do is to slow down a bit,” says SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar. “We try to get speeds down through the work zone. It doesn’t take much margin of error to change lives forever.”
He also says motorists need to pay attention when traveling through work zones. “Often, there’s going to construction-related signs up to tell the drivers what to expect, either narrow lanes,.lane shifts, that type of thing. So the more information you have as a driver getting into these work zones, the better you’ll be,” says Gischlar.
In addition, Gischlar points out, it’s more often drivers and their passengers who are injured or killed in work zone crashes as opposed to construction workers.. “A lot of these major work zones, like the one you have there in Mid-Maryland at I-270 and Maryland 85, you have reduced lane widths. That means there’s a concrete barrier there. So you’re talking about a fixed object at this point. So that’s why in four out of five crashes, it’s the driver or the occupant that gets injured,” he says.
However, that doesn’t diminish the number of construction workers who are injured or lose their lives in a work zone. “But there always that one or two a year that happen that injure or worse one of our contracting workers. It’s a two-way street to safety here,” says Gischlar.
SHA says motorists who want to avoid road construction sites when out on the highways can go on line to roads.maryland.gov, and click on E-Road-Ready. They can find locations of road constructions projects in their community, and take a alternate route to their destinations.
“The great thing about our state is there is a lot of alternate routes,” Gischlar. “So you can have a lane closure on one road, but there’s going to be other roads you can use.”
By Kevin McManus