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National Work Zone Awareness week: construction workers encourage drivers to pay attention

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-15 18:32:28-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It's National Work Zone awareness week. Thousands are injured or killed in work zones each year, according to INDOT. Laborers want the public to pay more attention on the roads.

"Slow down. Pay attention. It's just that simple," said construction worker, Joe Wiley.

For Joe Wiley and his crew, construction work zones are temporary, but it only takes one driver, to cause permanent damage.

"We are just out here trying not to get ran over," he said.

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The Indiana Department of Transportation said one of it's vehicles was hit by an alleged drunk driver, around 5 o'clock Monday morning on I-69 near Fairmount in Grant County.

Officials said the driver blew past cones and message boards in a work zone.

INDOT said no crews were injured but Wiley said close calls happen too often.

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"Somebody will either honk or cut somebody off or fly through here or almost hit a barrel. I mean, it gets hairy sometimes," said Wiley.

INDOT said there were nearly 8,300 work zone crashes last year.
33 of those were deadly.

"That's way too many. Our men and women are trained in the zone. They do this everyday. The barrels, the signage, there should be no reason why that should even be happening at all," said Brickey.

Business manager of Indianapolis's Laborers Union, Chris Brickey, wants drivers to keep in mind, the men and women in yellow also have families to go home to.

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"That's their living and people need to understand these people are married and they have kids, they are softball coaches, basketball coaches when they get home, they like to eat dinner with their family," he said.

"We are trying to go home to our family and we have a job to do and people get mad because we have roads blocked off, but we don't have a choice," said Wiley.

Also, keep in mind, upcoming projects.

"This year, 2024 looks really busy, not just here on 38th street, on the east side of 465. Our major project down in the south end of 465 which is the extension of I-69 and also the Clear Path will be a full groove this year as it's completed," said Brickey.

To better understand these crashes, INDOT is looking to add some cameras in work zone areas. It's part of a pilot program. INDOT is still deciding what cities will get them.