June 3, 2011

Road Work Ahead

NEWS FOR YOU….from the Iowa D.O.T.

By Debra Carney
Driver License Supervisor
Office of Driver Services
Davenport, IA

Road construction. Just those two words conjure up thoughts of delays, lines or driving out of your way to get to your destination.

From March through November, the Iowa DOT may have up to 500 road construction work zones. In addition each department’s maintenance garages may establish one or more short-term work zones per day. Add that to construction work done by cities and counties and motorists can expect to see thousands of road construction work zones during this period.

When driving in road construction work zones, drivers need to pay close attention to the movements of traffic around them as well as the location of road workers whose jobs often put them extremely close to traffic. In these work zones remember these tips:

• Adjust your speed to traffic conditions.
• Obey all instructions provided by signs, traffic signals and flaggers.
• Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
• Stay alert and expect the unexpected.

The most commonly used traffic control devices are signs, barricades, vertical panels, drums, cones, tubular markers and flashing arrow panels and flaggers. Most are diamond-shaped although a few are rectangular. Orange is the basic color of these signs and warning devices. These will be reflectorized to attract your attention at night.

Flashing Arrow Panels
Large flashing arrow panels may be used in work areas to direct driv¬ers into certain traffic lanes. These panels also alert you that part of the roadway is closed to traffic.

People with stop/slow paddles help control traffic in work zones. Follow their instructions. They should be wearing lime green or orange vests, shirts or jackets. They will normally use stop/slow signs. Red flags may be used occasionally.

Channelizing Devices
Barricades, vertical panels, drums, cones and tubular markers are the most commonly used devices to alert drivers of unusual or potentially dangerous conditions in highway and street work areas, and to guide drivers safely through the work zone. Flashing lights are used to alert motorists of a hazard.

Traffic control devices alone will not prevent accidents. It’s every driver’s job to pay close attention and expect the unexpected.