Respect the road work cone zone

Construction season is under way in Ohio. But don’t look for orange barrels to sprout like dandelions in Seneca County.

Ohio Department of Transportation’s plans for road work won’t cause any traffic jams around here. That’s a mixed blessing, as some state and federal routes in our area need existing surfaces replaced, if not widened.

Most road projects set for our circulation area will be localized – such as culvert replacement – and result in detours, which should allow workers plenty of room to do their jobs.

But some work planned in other areas near and far will require lane closures and other restrictions.

For example, sections of SR 53 and SR 101 are to be repaved this month, meaning lane restrictions are possible on SR 53 from the Sandusky/Seneca county line to State Street in Fremont, and on SR 101 from South Ridge Road to US 20.

In construction zones, the safety of workers can ride on the decisions of drivers. Driving in a work zone can be a challenge due to narrow lanes of travel. Traffic congestion, even at reduced speeds, can make it difficult for drivers to maintain safe distances from each other.

In fact, ODOT analysis has found the top causes of work zone crashes are speed, following too closely, failure to control and improper lane changes. In recent years, more people have been dying due to vehicle crashes in highway work zones.

Fines for speeding in construction zones aren’t the only thing that has doubled. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths from automobile crashes in construction zones in Ohio doubled from eight in 2009 to 16 in 2011.

Please, be alert when traveling through a work zone. Allow enough distance between vehicles to allow for a sudden stop. Watch for flaggers and heed construction zone signs that can warn or advise a motorist what to expect in the work zone.