WOOD DALE, Ill. - As the construction season gets underway, this is Work Zone Safety Week, this year's theme: Safety Is in Your Hands.
It's a spring ritual on the roads - the blooming of barricades and widespread construction. Work Zone Safety Week is a reminder to be alert, be aware and be safe.
"On average, more than 4,800 motor vehicle crashes occur in Illinois work zones every year. Preliminary numbers indicate there were 44 fatalities in work zones last year; one was a worker," said Greg Bedalov, Illinois Tollway executive director.
To help alert drivers of upcoming repair zones, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be installing more rumble strips approaching the road work.
"We're going to be doing work zone speed limit enforcements this year and distracted driving enforcements," said Matt Daeda, IDOT operations engineer, Dist. 1.
There are important steps you can take in and around work zones. Be prepared for changing conditions, lane closures, sudden stops, new traffic patterns, uneven pavement and workers.
"People drive into the closures, distracted, they actually enter the closures, they fail to stop, they rear end each other when they're texting, Pokemon Go was not our friend this year on the road," said Darcey Brogdon, Laborers International Union.
There are several very extensive, ongoing projects this construction season. The main one on the tollways is the eastern extension of Rt. 390.
Crews will complete the three-and-a-half miles of Rt. 390 from I-290 to Route 83 along with a full interchange at Rt. 83 and I-290 by the end of the year. IDOT will finish the bridge work at I-55 and Lake Shore Drive by this fall, and the reconstruction of the Jane Byrne Interchange will continue, but that won't wrap up until the fall of 2020.