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MDOT to motorists: Slow down in construction zones and protect workers

 I-94 project Jackson underway (Source MDOT)
I-94 project Jackson underway (Source MDOT) (WILX)
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 1:19 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Department of Transportation is calling on drivers to be more aware of work zones after losing two employees in just one week.

While roads have been quieter than usual with many people working from home, MDOT says roads are actually becoming more dangerous.

“Anytime we have a roadworker fatality, it’s a tragedy. But to experience two fatalities in one week is just an extremely sobering feeling,” said MDOT Bay Region spokeswoman Jocelyn Hall.

On Sept. 21, 26-year-old Zachery Morisette was killed working along I-94 near St. Clair Shores in Macomb County. Just three days later, 40-year-old Jeremy Allen Zeitz of Gladwin was killed while working on Sherwood Highway over I-69 in Eaton County.

Two other road workers in Michigan were hit and injured on the job last week in addition to the deaths. Hall said the week was one of the hardest MDOT has ever experienced.

“I can’t think of a time when we have had such a high number of road worker injuries or fatalities in such a short amount of time,” she said. “While one road worker fatality should kind of strike a chord with the public and make them extra vigilant and aware of what they’re doing, that doesn’t always happen.”

MDOT again is urging the public to remember how critical it is to be in full control when behind the wheel.

“It does leave you questioning if people feel a little bit safer because traffic volumes are reduced overall, so they feel with a wide open roadway, it may be OK to drive in excess speeds or pay less attention,” Hall said. “But whatever is happening, it’s unacceptable. We need to all remember that we are the person that is most responsible for the vehicle that were operating.”

MDOT is preparing for the winter, when plows will be on the roads, and encourages drivers to leave extra space for trucks because they have reduced visibility and drive at slower speeds.

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