It’s Work Zone Awareness Week and several local agencies are coming together to enhance work zone safety

Sign for work zone safety. / Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News
Sign for work zone safety. / Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News

It’s Work Zone Awareness Week, and with construction season getting underway, several local agencies are coming together to enhance work zone safety through a campaign called “Expect the Unexpected.”

There were 14 work zone fatalities in Colorado in 2013.

“When we talk to our workers they’ll see people that are putting on makeup and looking down at their phones and then just driving too fast,” CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson said.

And those bad driving habits can have some devastating repercussions.

“I’ve actually been the victim of two different accidents on I-25 with distracted drivers,” said Officer Tim Kippel with CSPD.

“We were making the repair and all of a sudden a motorcycle flew through the cone zone and hit the dirt pile that we had piled up,” Water Construction Crew Supervisor Robert Powell said.

“We were doing a milling job, replacing asphalt on a road.” Colorado Springs Utilities Senior Project Engineer David Longrie said. “It was about 2:00 in the morning and I was struck in the back of the legs by a drunk driver in a cone zone.”

And workers aren’t the only ones who can get hurt.

“When you see a cone zone just be patient. Go around it. When you go through it, that’s when bad things can happen. It’s really for the other people, the community’s safety more than our safety,” Powell said.

“85 percent of those work zones, it’s usually the people driving through and their passengers to get hurt, not the workers,” Wilson said.

The “Expect the Unexpected” campaign wants you to keep in mind everyone who might be affected by careless driving through work zones.

“I’m a son of my parents,” Longrie said. “I have a sister and because I was able to live through my accident, now I’m married and I have three little boys at home. So the impacts extend way beyond that particular day and changes the world by not hitting somebody and paying attention to what you’re doing while you’re driving.”

On average, one highway worker and seven motorists are killed every five days, nationally. These local agencies stress that drivers need to slow down and pay attention in work zones.

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