POCONO TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The weather is warming up, which means construction season is approaching. With more crews out on the roads working just feet from fast moving traffic, PennDOT is asking drivers to slow down and pay attention.
Their warning comes as three workers are recovering after being hit by a car while patching potholes earlier this week along Interstate 80 in Monroe County.
Ironically, this is National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.
Originally, PennDOT had planned to hold a press conference Thursday in the same work zone where the crash happened, but it was moved to a different location.
Tracy Fox is a Traffic Safety Coordinator with the Highway Safety Network.
She explains, “when you’re driving through a workzone you really need to pay attention. You never know when the situation is going to change.”
When passing through a work zone, she says drivers should always turn on their headlights, even during the day. She also wants to remind you that fines are doubled for work zone violations.
Fox says, “just keep your distance between vehicles.”
On Tuesday, state police say a tractor trailer rear ended a Volvo on Interstate 80 West near Blakeslee.
The Volvo then crashed through a work zone and hit three PennDOT workers.
“Luckily they will survive, but they are recovering,” says Sean Brown, PennDOT Press Officer.
PennDOT is holding press conferences across the state this week to highlight work zone safety. This one in Monroe County hits especially hard.
“As a result, especially of working all those hours, there’s a bond that forms. So it’s just like if something happened to someone in your own family, you take it personal,” says Dennis McArdle, District 5 Safety Coordinator.
Barriers are set up to protect crews during long term projects, but they just aren’t practical for short one day maintenance jobs like pothole patching.
“Unfortunately, a lot of our projects are moving, mobile options,” Brown adds.
Often times, a bumper car and cones are what seperate workers from traffic. Brown adds, “in general when you’re appraching a workzone, just think about those workers lives.”
All three PennDOT workers received medical attention. One was flown to the hospital with serious, but not life threatening injuries to his legs.