Safety of road workers, motorists highlighted

Andrea Rose news@echo-pilot.com
Eighty-eight Pennsylvania Department of Transportation workers have been killed on the job since the department was formed in 1970, each represented by a cross displayed at the welcome center along Interstate 81 in Antrim Township. ANDREA ROSE/ECHO PILOT

National Work Zone Safety Week began Monday and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials set up a vivid reminder of why motorists should slow down and pay attention when traveling through construction areas.

The PennDOT Worker's Memorial was part of a Road Safety Day event Friday at the Interstate 81 welcome center in Antrim Township.

It featured 88 crosses and helmets, one for each worker killed on the job since PennDOT was created in 1970.

"It's an opportunity to draw attention to the dangers our employees and contractors face," Fritzi Schreffler, safety press officer for PennDOT District 8, explained.

But it's not just workers who are at risk.

"More motorists are killed in work zones than employees," she added.

With warmer weather on the horizon, motorists can expect to encounter more work areas.

"Slow down," Schreffler suggested. "There's posted speeds in work zones for a reason."

Motorists are also reminded to pay attention to signs identifying work zones or describing traffic pattern changes, such as lane restrictions.

"Try to get over as soon as possible," suggested Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Ben Forsythe. "Too many people are in a hurry and just want to beat the car in front of them. They don't realize how much time it takes for commercial trucks to get over."

Friday's safety event included displays and information from the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association, Greencastle's Rescue Hose Co., Pennsylvania State Police, state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Franklin County Tourism Bureau.

For more information on road conditions and construction across the state, visit 511pa.com