ROANOKE, Va. – Monday is the start of National Work Zone Awareness Week and with more drivers planning trips, VDOT wants everyone to stay safe.
National Work Zone Awareness Week is an annual spring campaign held at the start of the construction season. The goal is to encourage safe drivers to use extra caution and avoid distractions in work zones.
As spring continues and we head into the summer months, drivers are more likely to see work zones.
VDOT says last year alone, there were more than 4,800 crashes in work zones around Virginia. That resulted in more than 1,800 injuries and 28 deaths. Those numbers are on an increase compared to previous years.
This is why VDOT wants to remind drivers of the importance of this week. They even put up a special message along Interstate 581 by Valley View Mall for drivers that says: “Slow Down in Work Zones”.
“The national theme this year is, actually, work zones are a sign to slow down. We definitely want to get that message out that people need to be aware that work zones are different. You really need to avoid those distractions, slow down, pay attention, and use caution when you are driving through a highway work zone,” said Jason Bond, communications manager for VDOT.
Long-term work zones scheduled for this summer in Southwest Virginia include Route 460 in the Montvale area, Route 58 in Patrick County, and along I-81 in Salem. Drivers will start to see barricade walls go up on I-81 this spring for the next widening project. This will be from Roanoke to Salem and is estimated to take several years to complete.
“Every day our highway workers are out there on our roads building and maintaining those roadways and they are at risk, but really drivers are also at risk. So everyone needs to use caution and be extra safe in those work zones,” says Bond.