This image will be seen on digital billboards in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas April 1-14 to help spread the word about the In the Game of Cones, Safety Always Wins theme as part of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Your Life Matters: Drive Like It work zone safety campaign.
Highway work zones are designed to keep everyone safe from the first orange cone you see all the way to the last. With hundreds of highway work zones expected to be underway across Oklahoma by the start of the summer driving season, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is putting out the call for drivers to step up their safety game.
In the Game of Cones, Safety Always Wins is a new theme by ODOT and other safety partners to highlight the critical need for drivers to make safety a priority when they're behind the wheel. This is part of the department's larger award-winning Your Life Matters: Drive Like It campaign. Unsafe actions such as speeding, following too closely or being distracted by cell phones are the top reasons for crashes in work zones in the state.
In the past five years, 65 people have been killed in a work zone in Oklahoma, including four ODOT employees. Additionally, the Federal Highway Administration ranks Oklahoma within the top 10 states with the highest commercial motor vehicle crashes in highway work zones.
"It takes a tremendous amount of effort and partnerships to keep Oklahoma's transportation system running smoothly and work zones are a vital part of that," Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz said April 1, at his first Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting as director. "The crews working just feet away from traffic in some cases put their lives in danger every day to keep drivers safe. We hope they will take safety just as seriously as we do."
Gov. Kevin Stitt launched ODOT's safety messaging on April 1 with a proclamation asking drivers to do their part in making work zones safer. During the next two weeks, In the Game of Cones, Safety Always Wins theme will be spread across the state, including:
April 1-14 — The popular "Work Zone Wednesday" messages, which are displayed on overhead electronic highway and interstate signs, will be increased to every day of the campaign. Look for messages like "You can't win the Game of Cones with your eyes on your phones," and others throughout the two-week campaign.
April 5 — A nearly 8-foot tall throne made from traffic cones will be on display at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors are invited to snap a selfie on the seat so they can be the Ruler of the Road and to also give their Work Zone Wednesday ideas.
April 8 — The Oklahoma City SkyDance Bridge over I-40 will glow orange that evening to honor ODOT's fallen workers.
April 9 — A large display of Remembrance Ribbons for the 61 fallen ODOT workers in the department's history will be on display in Lawton. This will be at I-44 and the US-62/Rogers Lane junction, where an interchange improvement project is completing.
April 10 — Wear orange to show your support for highway workers and snap a selfie with the hashtag #orangeyousafe and tag @OKDOT on Twitter and Facebook.
April 12 — The throne made of traffic cones will make its debut in Oklahoma City from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Penn Square Mall for the public to experience and interact with workers who can discuss work zone safety in person.
Facebook videos featuring ODOT workers will be shared throughout these two weeks.
By the time peak driving season arrives this summer, there will be numerous projects on city and county roads and turnpikes in addition to more than 360 highway and interstate work zones statewide. Some of these larger projects by ODOT include:
- I-235 reconstruction project at the I-44 junction in Oklahoma City;
- Pavement reconstruction on the south leg of the Inner Dispersal Loop in downtown Tulsa. Plus an upcoming adjacent work zone of the Broken Arrow Expressway for bridge rehabilitation between Lewis Ave. and 15th St. South;
- Interchange and bridge improvements on I-40 at the US-64 junction in Sallisaw;
- I-40 widening between I-240 and Peebly Rd. in eastern Oklahoma County;
- I-35 remains narrowed to one lane in each direction just north of SH-145 near Paoli in south-central Oklahoma through fall; and
- The next phase of improvements on US-270/US-183 in Woodward County starting this summer.
These areas will have impacts on regular commuter traffic and also on summer road trips as there could be lower speed limits, narrowed lanes and even detours in place. It is critical for drivers to plan ahead and allow extra travel time to ensure everyone's safety in the work zone.
Drivers can get updates from ODOT on daily highway maintenance and construction projects by signing up for emails at www.odot.org and also by following @OKDOT on Twitter and Facebook. There is also a new app that features ODOT construction maps, real-time views of traffic conditions and other information available in the Apple App Store.
This year's messaging is in partnership with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Additional supporting partners include Action Safety Supply, Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa and Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City among others to promote safe work zones all across the state.
Learn more about work zone awareness at https://www.ok.gov/odot/Workzone_Awareness_2019.html
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