Construction zone safety: What you need to know in Tuscaloosa Co.

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:48 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. WBRC) - A highway construction zone anywhere is always a potentially dangerous situation. You may recall the situation in Maryland a few days ago when a motorist killed six workers in a construction zone just outside of Baltimore. It’s happened in Alabama before.

It happens more than we realize. ALDOT says it has a few injuries a year just in Tuscaloosa County. Most of the injuries are minor.

Katie Repke works at the Heritage House in Tuscaloosa, takes orders, pours the java, all this just yards away from the ongoing realignment of part of McFarland Boulevard, one that consists of road crews, something Repke is mindful of when she leaves work and goes back home everyday to Northport.

“I definitely try to make an effort to slow because I realize there is a person there, and I don’t want to hit them,” said Repke.

This is the very thing ALDOT officials like to hear, and they wish everyone was like Repke.

“It hit close to home,” said ALDOT Tuscaloosa County District Administrator Kevin Williamson.

When Williamson heard about the recent tragedy in Maryland, he said it’s happened in Alabama before. Tuscaloosa County alone has nine road construction projects going on now.

“Two years ago we had a fatality in Maplesville,” said Williamson.

“I have an employee that’s been out for the last three weeks from a work zone crash,” said Repke.

These two gentlemen on the job declined to say anything on camera, but admitted they often feel nervous doing what they do on a construction job. Williamson says the primary cause for work zone collisions is distracted driving - anything from texting to reading a book.

“The distractions are real and people aren’t seeing the signs, not seeing the cones,” said Williamson.

“I worry for them,” Repke said.

Take it from Repke - slow down, put the phone down, obey the speed limit, and keep it safe in the zone.

And to drive home the points of what Williamson and Repke made, next month is Work Zone Awareness Month.

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