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Wisconsin DOT calls for driver safety during Work Zone Awareness week

MADISON (WKOW) — Now that spring is here, it’s construction season again on roads across Wisconsin.

Monday kicks off the state Department of Transportation’s Work Zone Awareness week.

Road construction projects are an eventuality during the nice weather, with four major DOT projects going on around our area.

And with that, the agency wants drivers to keep workers in mind.

“Our message is work zone safety, slowing down, being patient, taking extra caution especially when you see the orange barrels and workers out,” David Hunt, with the DOT, said.

While Dane County hasn’t had a work zone related death in recent years, there were still more than 300 work zone crashes since 2016.

Last year saw multiple crashes on I-39/90 in the construction area between Madison and the state line.

That project has resumed for the season and continues until the fall.

“There’s going to be speed reduction, whether it’s listed or whether its just the best way to drive through the work zone,” Hunt said. “We ask that people drive the conditions and always slow down when you see orange barrels.”

Those speed limit changes are important because most work zone related crashes happen because of tailgating. There were nearly 4,100 in Wisconsin in the past five years.

The changes have already begun.

On April 1st, the DOT reduced the speed limit to 60 miles per hour on I-39/90 for construction between Janesville and Beloit.

They just want everyone out on the roads to be safe these coming months.

“We just ask that drivers out there be careful, use 511 to get a feeling for what’s ahead before you get out there and drive,” Hunt said. “It’s important to know before you go and just take care this construction season.”

It is illegal to talk on your cellphone in a work zone.

That comes with a $40 fine for a first offense and $100 every time after that.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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