Home Stay focused, stay safe: Work Zone Awareness Week began in Bristol, Virginia
Public Safety, Virginia

Stay focused, stay safe: Work Zone Awareness Week began in Bristol, Virginia

Rebecca Barnabi
(© John Alphonse – stock.adobe.com)

The Virginia Department of Transportation is marking National Work Zone Awareness Week.

The annual national event spreads important safety information about the potential dangers of work zones, both for workers operating in them and for motorists passing through.

Work Zone Awareness Week started in VDOT’s Bristol District in 1997. The following year, VDOT extended the observation statewide. By 2000, the annual event was being recognized nationwide.

This year’s national ceremony will be held in Maryland. Last year, six highway workers were killed in a terrible crash on the Baltimore Beltway in one tragic crash. And six more workers lost their lives on the Francis Scott Key Bridge in March 2024.

In 2023, work zones crashes claimed 13 lives in Virginia, which is down from 22 fatalities in 2022. More than 4,100 crashes and nearly 1,700 injuries were reported in 2023 in work zones.

The 2024 theme is “Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever.”

Highlights of this week include today’s designation as Safety Stand Up day. As construction season begins, VDOT encourages all who work in Virginia’s highway construction and maintenance industries to make time for project-wide safety training meetings and safety focused discussions.

On Wednesday, April 17, at 4 p.m., VDOT will host its annual ceremony at the VDOT Workers Memorial off I-64 on Afton Mountain. Wednesday is also Go Orange Day, where all are encouraged to wear orange to promote work zone safety and share their support by posting pictures on social media with the hashtag #GoOrangeDayVA.

On Friday, April 19, at 10 a.m., VDOT will hold a moment of silence for individuals killed while working in work zones.

The dedicated week is a reminder, when driving through work zones, always go the speed limit, avoid distractions and stay focused on the road ahead. Many moving parts are often present in work zones, including workers and heavy equipment. Stay focused. Stay safe.

‘Work with Us’: National week raises awareness of work zone safety on Virginia’s roads – Augusta Free Press

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.