STROUD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It’s that time of year again when thousands of drivers will be sitting in construction traffic backed up for miles. But before you get frustrated, PennDOT has an important message to share that could mean the difference between life or death.
Summer is PennDOT’s busiest season for construction. Workers have two goals: improve the roads and make it home safe every night. Sadly for 87 employees, that didn’t happen.
Mike Liuzza has a dangerous job. He works feet from speeding vehicles.
“I’ve been working out in traffic and tractor trailers go by and blow your hard hat right off your head they’re going so fast,” says Mike Liuzza, PennDOT equipment operator in Monroe County.
There’s been times when a car’s side mirror even clips his elbow.
“They get pretty close,” he adds.
But Mike considers himself lucky. Close calls like his have ended in tragedy for others. Since 1970, 87 PennDOT employees have lost their lives on the job. The hard hat and vest they can no longer wear rests on a cross baring their name instead.
“And these are real people with real lives and families that have really been affected by crashes and incidents in our work zones,” says Sean Brown, District 5 PennDOT Press Officer.
PennDOT has its Worker’s Memorial on display outside the District Office along Route 611 in Stroud Township. It travels throughout the state to help raise awareness and remind drivers to follow the posted speed limit in work zones.
“A lot of times there may be just a cone or a little barrier protecting our workers from 70, 80 mile an hour traffic,” Brown explains.
The next time you spot Mike and his co-workers on the road, they ask you to slow down, be patient and not drive distracted. Their lives and yours depend on it.
“We really need people to give us a break, we do,” Liuzza adds.
Your invited to visit the memorial to pay your respects. Next Wednesday, it moves on to Schuylkill County.
Last year, there were sixteen fatalities in Pennsylvania work zones. If PennDOT workers witness a work zone violation, including speeding or road rage, they report vehicle information to police.