MoDOT promoting work zone awareness

This is a dangerous time of year on the highways as work crews begin road construction and repair.

Sixteen Missouri Department of Transportation employees have been killed in work zone accidents in the last 12 years.

That's why MoDOT has this new message for Work Zone Awareness Week - "Move Over for Work Zones - Don't Zone Out".

As crews were on the Mark Twain Memorial bridge cleaning the bridge deck and inspecting the structure cars and trucks were going past the workers at between 45 and 65 miles an hour.

One miscue, and this stretch of a work zone could become a crash scene. That's why MoDOT is promoting safety for its workers and motorists.

"Safety is our number one issue, not just for the MoDOT employees, but for the traveling public. And when we do work close to the center line and traffic goes by us 55 to 65 miles an hour, you've got to be aware of your surroundings. The traffic will hopefully look out for us and look out for each other," MoDOT maintenance supervisor Simon Begley said.

A few years ago, Danny Perry, who is a 14 year veteran with MoDOT, had a near-miss while he was working along US 61 south of Palmyra. He will remember it for a long time.

"So I looked in my rear view mirror and I saw a tractor trailer unit sideways on 61 with a roll of flat steel almost on its side and so I knew I needed to get out of the way, so I veered to the right, went down in the median, and when I got straightened up, I looked in the mirror again and the roll of steel was chasing me down the median," Perry said.

MoDOT workers aren't the only ones in danger. In 2012, 623 people got hurt in car crashes within a work zone. So that's just one more reason for drivers to follow the motto - "Move Over For Work Zones and Don't Zone Out".

MoDOT lists the top five causes for work zone accidents last year as following too closely, inattention, improper lane usage, failure to yield and driving too fast for conditions.