MassDOT introduces new safety measures for work zones

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A state police cruiser was hit in a construction zone in Burlington earlier this week. Back in October, another cruiser was struck, while working a construction detail in Longmeadow. Both crashes have one similarity… they occurred in work zones.

Roadwork can be dangerous for both workers and police. According to state police, there were close to 400 crashes in work zones on state roads between July 2016, and January 2017.

Jose Sanchez of Hartford told 22News, he’s not surprised. He has seen many drivers speed through the construction zone on I-91. “They go 70, 80 MPH, around there, sometimes they go up to 90. Some people just don’t care, they don’t pay attention,” he said.

MassDOT is introducing new safety initiatives for work zones to make sure drivers pay attention. They’ve already started to install blue LED lights at some construction zones, which they hope will look similar enough to a police cruiser to slow drivers down.

Sean Boardway of Greenfield said he thinks the blue lights could work well. “Good idea, because everyone sees blue flashing lights and they slow down,” he said.

Bumps on the road could also start forcing you to slow down. MassDOT wants to install portable rumble strips at the beginning of work zones.

Judy Crowell of Springfield told 22News, that would prevent drivers from speeding in work zones. “I do think that would help because you’d feel the vibration of the rumble strip, and it would cause you to slow down automatically. That way you would already be slowing down, and entering the work zone in a safe manner,” she said.

According to state police, more than 180 people were injured in work zone crashes between July 2016 and January 2017.