BATON ROUGE, La. – In observance of Work Zone Awareness Week – which Gov. Bobby Jindal has declared as April 6-10 in Louisiana – the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has erected a cone memorial in front of its headquarters building to draw drivers’ attention to the importance of driving safely through work zones.
Each cone in the memorial represents one of the 835 people killed nationwide in work zones in 2007 – the most recent year for which figures were available from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Sixteen of those deaths were in Louisiana. Since 1989, 236 people have died from motor-vehicle crashes in Louisiana’s work zones.
In addition, DOTD statistics show that 990 injuries occurred in Louisiana work zones in 2007.
DOTD Secretary William D. Ankner, Ph.D., said, “Between the stimulus-funded projects and the projects funded by DOTD’s regular program, we will have a lot of orange cones and barrels on the roads this year.
“The construction will impact your travel, and I know this will cause frustration. But, for your safety and for the safety of other travelers, I beg you to exercise patience and remember that ultimately, these work zones will provide better roads for the citizens of Louisiana.
“Please follow the speed limit, don’t talk or text on your cell phone, and pay attention to driving – especially in work zones. Consider the safety of your fellow citizens working on the road projects. Remember, this is their workplace, and they want to be able to go home to their loved ones at the end of the day,” he said.
The theme of National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is being held in conjunction with the state’s Work Zone Awareness Week, is “Drive to Survive – Our Future is Riding on It.” This year marks the 10th anniversary of National Work Zone Awareness Week.
Some of DOTD’s district offices around the state also are putting up cone memorials during Work Zone Awareness Week. These memorials, which will be put up in New Orleans, Lafayette, Monroe, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Chase and Hammond – will represent the 16 people killed in Louisiana work zones in 2007.
The department also will host a “Work Zone Safety Day” Thursday, April 9, at the Interstate 10 Toomey Welcome Center as part of Work Zone Awareness Week.