The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) plans to implement recommendations from its Work Zone Safety Task Force to promote safety in public work zones throughout the state.
“MassDOT is committed to helping reduce motor vehicle crashes while also enhancing safety and facilitating effective operations throughout our work zones,” says MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “Although many work zone crashes involve allegedly impaired drivers, our Task Force has recognized opportunities for further safety enhancements and has identified several initiatives that MassDOT will be pursuing during this upcoming construction season.”
Some of the recommendations to be implemented include:
- Flashing blue LED lights installed on portable trailers which can simulate the presence of a law enforcement vehicle and can be useful in work zones with limited police coverage. MassDOT has started initial testing with portable trailers retrofitted with flashing blue LED lights on two active construction projects on Route 2 and on I-190 and will continue testing these systems in the coming months.
- Temporary portable rumble stripsplaced at the entrances of work zones to help alert distracted drivers with an audible warning and physical vibration to get their attention prior to entering a work zone. MassDOT plans to expand the use of portable rumble strips for high-speed (45mph and above) lane closures to help in reducing speed and alerting drivers that they are approaching a work area.
- Work zone safety instructions included in driver’s education as there are currently no references to work zone safety in the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Manual. Through the introduction of basic work zone safety principles during the education process, MassDOT hopes to produce better informed and prepared drivers.
- The “take-five” huddleincorporated into more construction projects in order to reinforce safety habits and facilitate improved communication. This pre-setup meeting is used by some construction teams and contractors to review safety procedures and processes prior to each work session, and findings by the Task Force indicate that the meetings can be effective in promoting safety.
Officials created the Work Zone Safety Task Force in June 2016 to review work zone activities following several serious motor crashes that occurred in MassDOT work zones during last year’s construction season. Members include MassDOT employees from Traffic and Safety Engineering, Construction, Legal, and Operations and Management, as well as subject matter experts from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Massachusetts State Police (MSP), the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPS), the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Associations, and Construction Industries of Massachusetts.