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MDOT concerned about more people speeding through work zones

With fewer drivers on the road, speeds are increasing
Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 2:45 PM EDT
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Anyone whose car broke down on the side of the freeway knows how scary it is to feel a car rushing past you at 70 mph.

For road construction workers, that is what they experience every day. The Michigan Department of Transportation says many drivers ignore the signs to slow down when then enter work zones.

For drivers, going to 75 mph down to 60 mph or even 45 mph can feel like a huge speed decrease. But those 15 to 30 mph can save a life and only add a few minutes onto a drive.

“At 75 mph, it takes you four minutes to get through. At 60 mph, it takes five and if you do have to drop down to 45 mph it takes you seven minutes,” MDOT engineer Keith Brown said.

MDOT says work zones have become more dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic. With decreasing numbers of people on the roads, it seems speeds may be increasing.

You really don’t realize how fast 70 mph is until you are on the side of the road," Brown said. “There is very little room for error when you’re going 70 mph.”

But sadly, errors happen every day. Brown said drivers hit barrels marking work zones every day.

“A few times a day you’re out picking up barrels, if not every other day,” he said.

MDOT uses dynamic signs to remind people just how fast they’re going and as a reminder that it’s time to slow down

“As you’re approaching the biggest part of the work zone, it will flash your speed and the work zone speed so you know what you’re going and if you need to slow down,” Brown said.

Drivers knowing their speed and slowing down can be critical and life-saving. Michigan State Police are providing extra patrols in work zones to enforce the lower speed limits.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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