Construction zones present dangers for workers, drivers

ODOT says work zones are dangerous spots for drivers and workers.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A crash backed up traffic for several miles Thursday on Interstate 80. It was the 144th crash along the interstate in Mahoning County this year, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Three of those crashes were fatal.

Thursday’s three vehicle crash happened in a traffic jam a couple miles before a work zone.

The Ohio Department of Transportation Press Secretary, Matt Bruning, says they’re doing what they can to make these work zones as safe as possible.

“We know that work zones can be tricky places, they can be dangerous places.”

In 2014, there were more than 5,000 work zone crashes in Ohio, 1,000 injuries and 17 deaths.

Bruning says things are constantly changing in work zones, which means a different traffic pattern for drivers.

“Expect the unexpected in work zones because things can quickly change.”

Tony Stone is a truck driver who is on the road five days a week.

“Bridges out, roads closed, detours. Every day,” Stone said.

ODOT is investing more than $2 billion into improving roads in the state. That comes with a lot of construction.

“These construction projects, I know can be frustrating, but our goal is to always get it done as quickly, but most importantly, as safely as possible,” Bruning said.

ODOT says they put up warning signs and send out press releases to prepare drivers for work zones.

While safety is a priority, these work zones are even more dangerous for truck drivers when small cars try to take advantage.

“They tend to turn in front of us or try to speed up and pass us up, and it’s not really the room for them to do that,” Stone said.

Bruning says simply paying attention and slowing down will help.

“When you slow down to 45 miles per hour in a work zone, you’re only adding about 60 seconds to your commute.”

WKBN was the only station with a reporter providing live updates on the scene of this crash. To get breaking news updates, sign up for text alerts and download our app for Apple and Android devices.

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