Construction season begins; drivers reminded to slow down

Staff reports

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is embarking on one of its busiest construction seasons this year as the NDDOT plans to spend approximately $470 million on projects in the 2011 construction season. 

“As North Dakota’s highway infrastructure ages, NDDOT is focusing its resources on rebuilding and improving existing roadways,” says Francis Ziegler, NDDOT Director. “This year our construction efforts will go to improving traffic flow and ride quality as well as increasing load carrying capacity across the state.”

Keeping motorists safe while traveling through work zones is top priority for NDDOT, North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Associated General Contractors of North Dakota (AGC of ND), who are all partners in this year’s Work Zone SafetyCampaign. This year’s campaign reminds motorists that lives are on the line as they travel through construction sites.

Motorists should be prepared to see road construction in all areas of the state this summer.

As with every construction season, the Highway Patrol will work to promote safe driving in work zones and enforce traffic laws,” says Highway Patrol Colonel James Prochniak. “Speeding is one of the most prevalent offenses in construction zones. Slowing down in work zones is simply the best and easiest way for motorists to stay safe and potentially save lives.”

Every year, the NDDOT, Highway Patrol, and AGC of ND work together to achieve the goal of zero fatalities in work zones. For the past two years, that goal has been achieved with zero work zone fatalities on North Dakota state highways in 2009 and 2010. This fact can be credited to the diligence of motorists to slow down and obey posted signs in work zones.

“Highway workers are working hard to improve the roadways and make it safer for motorists,” says Russ Hanson, Executive Vice President of AGC of ND. “As you travel this summer, I encourage motorists to put safety first by following a few rules when traveling through work zones. With one work zone fatality already this year, motorists must do their part to keep our roadways safe for the remainder of this construction season.”

During construction and road maintenance work, the NDDOT, Highway Patrol and AGC of ND urge drivers to:

· Stay alert. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway.

· Minimize distractions. Don’t talk on your cell phone, or change the radio stations, or try to do things that aren’t meant to be done while driving.

· Be patient. Work zones aren’t present to inconvenience drivers, they’re an important part of maintaining and rebuilding our state’s infrastructure.

· Don’t speed. Obey posted speed limits at all times, even when workers aren’t present. Pavement or other conditions may exist that require reduced speed.

“By following these guidelines, motorists can keep themselves as well as highway workers safe,” says Ziegler. “We look forward to another safe and successful construction season.”

Major projects across the state

· Widening, paving, and turn lane construction on ND Highway 22 north of Killdeer

· Paving of westbound I-94 at Youngmans Butte

· Reconstruction and widening on ND Highway 8 from the junction of ND Highway 23 to ND Highway 50

· Grading and overlay on US Highway 85 from Watford City to Alexander

· Grading ND Highway 23 from New Town west to the County Line

· Reconstruction and widening on US Highway 83 from Strasburg to Linton

· Widening and overlay of ND Highway 13 from Wishek to the junction of ND Highway 30

· Grade raises in the Devils Lake area on Highways 2, 20, 57, 19 and 281

· Overlay and widening of ND Highway 1 from the junction of US Highway 2 to County Road 8 & 15

· Paving of northbound I-29 from Sheyenne River to Argusville

· Numerous urban projects such as Century Avenue in Bismarck, Minot bypass project and Gateway Drive to the Red River in Grand Forks