ODOT: Help us prevent ongoing work zone crashes and deaths - KPTV - FOX 12

ODOT: Help us prevent ongoing work zone crashes and deaths

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As the summer season approaches, the Oregon Dept. of Transportation is warning drivers about the increased prevalence of road construction.

“Remember, orange is your clue,” said ODOT Director Matthew Garrett at a press conference Thursday.

Garrett used the color to remind Oregonians about how to identify signs indicating upcoming work zones, potentially hazardous areas, workers near roadsides and speed restrictions.

“We’re out there. We’re feet away from traffic – live traffic,” said ODOT roadcrew worker Justin Brandon. “And a lot of times it’s just cones and barrels between the workers and these trucks driving 65 mph. Sometimes faster. So it’s extremely dangerous and you need to keep your head on a swivel at all times.”

Thursday’s press conference was held at a construction site located in a work zone along Interstate 5, where crews are building a new southbound auxiliary lane on I-5 from north of Lower Boones Ferry Road to Interstate 205.

While ODOT said the project “will help relieve congestion and reduce crashes”, the work zone has already seen its share of problems. In just two months, construction managers at the site said there have been six crashes within the work zone.

One resulted in a fatality, said Oregon Mainline Paving Operations Manager Jason Fender.

“We’re just pleading with you – while we have workers out there – to please slow down,” Fender said. “Pay attention and just slow down that extra mile.”

According to ODOT data gathered during a study from 2012 to 2016, five people die and 437 people are hurt within work zones on average each year. The study also found there are more than 500 reported crashes yearly – or 1 every 17 hours.

ODOT said they are also continuously working with law enforcement to enforce work zone restrictions, including speed limits.

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