“Don’t Barrel Through Work Zones -- Drive Smart to Arrive Alive” is the theme of National Work Zone Awareness Week, which runs through Saturday.
Pennsylvania's work zone safety event was earlier this month and featured a display of PennDOT's traveling Worker Memorial in Harrisburg. It has 83 posts topped by hard hats and draped in safety vests, each representing a PennDOT employee who died in the line of duty since 1970. In 2011 there were more than 1,800 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 21 deaths including one highway worker. (Note that drivers, not construction workers, are more often the casualties in work zone crashes.)
Motorists caught driving 11 mph or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted of speeding, automatically lose their license for 15 days. Nearly 600 motorists had their license suspended for work zone violations last year. The law also provides for doubling of fines.
If Pennsylvania lawmakers are serious about reducing speeding and crashes in work zones, they will enact a law similar to Maryland's, which deploys speed enforcement cameras in those areas. The enforcement sites are well publicized online and on huge signs approaching the camera deployments.
Drivers going 12 mph or more above the work zone limit are fined $40.
Gov. Tom Corbett's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission endorsed the use of work zone speed cameras in its August report that has done nothing but gather dust since it was delivered to the governor.
Speaking of work zones, PennDOT will close inbound Route 28 at the 40th Street Bridge in Millvale on Wednesday night to allow crews to install a truss for an overhead sign. Starting at 8 p.m., inbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane crossing the 40th Street Bridge to Butler Street to Penn Avenue to the 16th Street Bridge. Traffic on the 40th Street Bridge will not be able to access inbound Route 28; access to northbound Route 28 and Millvale will remain open. Traffic stoppages of up to 15 minutes will occur on outbound Route 28. The restrictions will be lifted by 5 a.m. Thursday. Once the sign is up, overnight inbound lane restrictions (one lane open) will continue on weekdays starting at 8 p.m., and outbound 15-minute stoppages will continue, through May 5.
Route 50 in Bridgeville, aka Washington Avenue, will get a $308,000 upgrade to its sidewalks and trees from Hickman Street to Bower Hill Road. The street will be closed in both directions starting at 9 p.m. Wednesday so crews can remove paint lines and install temporary markings. Bridgeville police will direct traffic. A detour will be posted. The street will reopen by 6 a.m. Thursday.
Rehabilitation of the bridge that carries the Parkway East over Commercial Street (just east of the Squirrel Hill Tunnels) will cause short-term lane and shoulder closures on Commercial Street between Forward Avenue and Nightingale Way from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays starting Wednesday through May 4. The inbound shoulder of the parkway will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Additional Commercial Street restrictions will come later in the project.
Construction will resume Tuesday night on the westbound side of the Parkway East near the Monongahela Wharf, Downtown. The work will occur from west of the Grant Street exit to the Fort Pitt Bridge approach ramp, with single-lane closures starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Restrictions will be lifted by 5 a.m. The construction is part of an $8.7 million project to improve about 26 ramps and road segments in the Golden Triangle.
Alternating one-way traffic will be in place on Saxonburg Boulevard between Kay Drive and Calmwood Road in O’Hara from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday as crews take core samples for a future improvement project at the bridge over Little Pine Creek.
The right lane on the inbound Liberty Bridge will be closed near the Boulevard of the Allies exit from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 2 a.m. Thursday during bridge inspection.@pgtraffic on Twitter