ARTBA: Speed enforcement key to cutting roadway construction zone deaths and injuries

News ARTBA April 08, 2005
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The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) urges state and local police departments to dramatically step up their enforcement of speed limits in roadway construction zones to help reduce death and injuries.

Rich Wagman, 2005 chairman of ARTBA, noted that a highway worker or motorist is killed in a roadway construction zone every eight hours. He said more than 50,000 Americans – enough to fill most major league baseball and football stadiums in the United States – are also injured in road construction zone accidents each year.

“Getting motorists to obey posted speed limits is a key to enable them to recognize and respond to changes in traffic patterns in work zones,” said Wagman. “If motorists heed work zone warnings, we can significantly cut the high number of worker and motorist deaths.” Wagman added, “Imagine if your work desk was literally four feet from cars and trucks moving 65 or more miles per hour. Those are the conditions my employees face everyday.”

Wagman is chairman and CEO of G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., a major highway and bridge construction company based in York, Pennsylvania. His firm is handling much of the Maryland interchange work on the $1.6 billion Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement project in the Nation’s Capital. The project was the site of a news conference held as part of the annual “National Work Zone Awareness Week” organized by the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Transportation Construction Industry.

ARTBA is long-time leader of in roadway work zone safety initiatives. When the highway construction market began shifting from an emphasis on new construction to maintenance and rehabilitation work done under traffic, the association organized the first national conference to draw attention to, and address the resulting safety risks in 1985. It now hosts an annual conference on the topic.

The ARTBA Transportation Development Foundation developed and manages the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, based at the Texas Transportation Institute, which offers the world’s largest on-line library on the subject. Later this year, ARTBA will launch a major educational program designed to train new drivers to safely negotiate road construction zones. The program was developed under a contract with the Federal Highway Administration.

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