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Labor Day may signal the end of summer, but not the end of road construction

August 20, 2014

AMES, Iowa – Aug. 20, 2014 – The dog days of summer are upon us. Many folks will be taking to the road over Labor Day to enjoy the last long weekend until winter sets in.

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of construction season. The Iowa Department of Transportation and the state’s counties and cities continue to have work zones in every corner of Iowa to improve our transportation system. Prior to traveling, we urge motorists to visit 511ia.org for the latest traveler information on current projects that may affect travel plans. You can also get this information by following us on Twitter @iowadot or @statewideia511.

If you would like more complete information on major construction projects that will affect travelers across Iowa this construction season, the Iowa DOT’s construction website, www.iowadot.gov/travel.html#/highwayconstruction, includes specific project details, project detours and traffic impacts, costs, schedules, construction updates, contact information, and an interactive map that includes current projects on Iowa’s interstate and state highways. 

Driver behavior is the key to safety in work zones. Following a few simple guidelines can greatly keep both drivers and workers safe and help work toward the goal of Zero Fatalities on Iowa’s roadways.

Expect the unexpected in any work zone along any road. Speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people and equipment may be at work on or near the road.

Slow down. Be alert. Pay attention to the signs. Diamond-shaped orange warning signs are generally posted in advance of road construction projects. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that marks the end of the work zone.

Watch out for flaggers. In addition to other warning signs, a “flagger ahead” warning sign may be posted in the work zone. Stay alert and be prepared to obey the flagger’s directions. In a work zone, a flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, meaning you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.

Merge as soon as possible. Do not zoom up to the point where the lane closes, then try to merge in. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by moving to the appropriate lane as quickly and safely as possible after first notice of an approaching work zone.

Slow down when directed. A car traveling 60 mph travels 88 feet per second. If you are going 60 mph and you pass a sign that reads “Road Work 1500 feet,” you will be in that work zone in 17 seconds.

Don’t tailgate. The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision; remember to leave at least two seconds of braking distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment, and workers. 

Work zones may be mobile. Some work zones – like line painting, road patching, shoulder repair, and mowing – are mobile and advance as the work is finished. Just because you do not see the workers immediately after you see the warning sign does not mean they are not present.   

Expect delays. Plan ahead and leave early to reach your destination on time. Highway
agencies use many different ways to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. Often, detours are suggested to help you avoid the work zone entirely. Plan ahead and try an alternate route.

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For general work zone safety questions, contact: Mark Bortle at 515-239-1587 or mark.bortle@dot.iowa.gov .

For questions on specific projects, contact:

District 1 (central Iowa)
Jesse Tibodeau at 515-239-1542 or jesse.tibodeau@dot.iowa.gov

District 2 (north central Iowa)
Dave Roeber at 641-422-9448 or david.roeber@dot.iowa.gov

District 3 (northwest Iowa)
Darwin Bishop at 712-274-5826 or darwin.bishop@dot.iowa.gov

District 4 (southwest Iowa)
George Feazell at 712-243-7628 or george.feazell@dot.iowa.gov

District 5 (southeast Iowa)
Jim Webb at 641-469-4045 or james.webb@dot.iowa.gov

District 6 (east central Iowa)
Doug McDonald at 319-364-0235 or douglas.mcdonald@dot.iowa.gov

 


Iowa highway in the evening