BATON ROUGE, La. – Secretary Sherri H. LeBas, P.E, represented the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) today at a press conference to discuss the importance of driving safely through work zones. The press conference was held in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, which has been declared by Gov. Bobby Jindal as April 4-8 in Louisiana.
Secretary LeBas said, “Currently, Louisiana’s interstates and highways include many active work zones, due to the abundance of Louisiana infrastructure projects funded by state surplus and the federal recovery program, in addition to projects from our general program. Though this provides more challenges for motorists, it is also a sign of progress for Louisiana citizens. I urge everyone to practice safe driving and remain cautious and focused, especially when traveling through Louisiana’s work zones.”
The press conference was held on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol at 9:45 a.m, where a 16-cone memorial was displayed to represent the 16 lives lost in Louisiana work zones in 2009 – the most recent year for which figures were available from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). A larger 667-cone memorial was displayed on the front lawn of the DOTD’s headquarters building representing the 667 lives lost nationwide.
Additional statistics show that 274 people have died from motor-vehicle crashes in Louisiana’s work zones since 1989 and 735 injuries occurred in Louisiana work zones in 2009.
Speakers at the ceremony included Charles “Wes” Bolinger, Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, Louisiana Division; Col. Michael D. Edmonson, Superintendent, Louisiana State Police and Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, Executive Director, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
"The Louisiana State Police has enjoyed a long-time partnership with DOTD, and I commend Secretary LeBas' efforts to raise awareness of work zone safety in Louisiana,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “We are committed to doing our part through proactive enforcement, promoting education and awareness, and strengthening our partnership with DOTD and their contractors. Working together, we are making a difference.”
In addition to assembling the cone memorials at DOTD headquarters and the Capitol, DOTD District 02 employees set up a 667-cone memorial at the New Orleans Transportation Management Center (TMC), and the district has scheduled a Work Zone Safety event for Thursday, April 7, at the TMC. The event will begin with a press conference at 10 a.m., after which visitors will have the opportunity to tour the TMC, have their picture taken in a safety vest and participate in activities, with prizes, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
DOTD is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 890 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email email@example.com, or call DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).