April 7 marked the beginning of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, an annual event dedicated to improving public awareness of the dangers posed to motorists and construction workers by highway work zones. As part of the opening event, a "Work Zone Memorial," comprised of 1,100 orange cones commemorated those who perish each year in highway work zones was on display at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, April 8, 2003. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) was a leading proponent of making safety in highway work zones a national priority,
AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr who addressed attendees at the Work Zone Memorial said, "Making work zones safer is the responsibility of us all. As our highway infrastructure ages and our population expands, road construction will play a vital role in to meeting these growing needs. As motorists represent 80 percent of work zone fatalities, this year’s event is focused on motorist safety; however it’s important to remember that the remaining 20 percent are construction workers who should be remembered and protected."
"Work Zone safety is a priority for AGC in the TEA-21 Reauthorization Legislation. AGC is calling upon Congress to include incentives to allow for more use of law enforcement in work zones, as well as greater use of barriers to separate motorists and workers," added Sandherr.
While safe work zone safety is the responsibility of the construction industry, the public also has a duty to drive alertly and within the work zone’s speed limit. This year’s Work Zone Safety Awareness Week sought to improve communication with motorists about highway projects, an issue on which AGC is preparing a list of recommendations to submit to state highway agencies.
For more information, visit www.agc.org.