Work Zone Awareness
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Barron County Highway Commissioner Mark Servi urges people to drive carefully in highway work zones as the start of maintenance and construction season begins throughout Wisconsin.  As the weather turns, work zones will be more prevalent putting more highway workers and drivers at risk.  In 2013, the most recent year in which data is available,  the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported that there were nearly 1,600 work zone crashes in Wisconsin alone, resulting in 629 injuries and nine fatalities.  In 2015, the construction season was marred by three tragedies in which Wisconsin County Highway workers were killed within work zones.

National Work Zone Awareness Week, sponsored by federal, state and local transportation officials each April, draws attention to the safety needs of road workers during construction season. Generally, crashes occur when drivers speed through a work zone, do not pay attention to changing road conditions, run into other vehicles or highway equipment, or drive off the road completely.  Due to the importance of this week, Barron County has passed a resolution proclaiming April 3rd through 7th as Work Zone Awareness Week.

“Many sections of our state and county roads will be busy with workers and drivers in the coming months as construction and maintenance activities begin to ramp up,” said Barron County Highway Commissioner Servi. “By following the rules of the road in work zones, we can keep people safe during National Work Zone Awareness Week and all year long.  Please remember that our road workers are performing their duties in order to provide for a safe and efficient transportation system.  They are community members, spouses, parents, and friends within our County and deserve to go home safe every night.” 

While typical construction work zones are prevalent throughout the county and state, there are also significant number of maintenance operations that may be short-term or moving operations.  Drivers are reminded of the state’s “Move Over, Slow Down” law which requires drivers to shift lanes or slow down in order to provide a "safety zone" for a squad car, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck, utility vehicle, or highway maintenance vehicle that is stopped on the side of a road with its warning lights flashing.  When you encounter a work zone, please proceed with caution and be alert for changing conditions.

“The Barron County Sheriff’s Department will be working cooperatively with the Barron County Highway Department to make sure that drivers are slowing down and paying attention in work zones not only during the Work Zone Awareness Week but all year long, making sure all these workers go home safe to their families”, states Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald. He also reminds you that fines can double in work zones.

On March 30, 2016, Governor Walker signed a bill that prohibits the use of cell-phones in work zones.  With this bill, driver's can be fined up to $40 for the violation with the fine amount increasing up to $100 for subsequent offenses.  With this change, please help to keep both the crews and the drivers within our work zones safe by conforming to this law.

The Barron County Board of Supervisors recently passed an ordinance that allows the Highway Commissioner to reduce the posted speed limit in work zones. These zones will be signed with reduced speed ahead signs to alert the public to the changing speed limits. These enforceable reduced speed limits will help keep our workers and the traveling public safe.

Barron County Highway Department has another busy year of maintenance and construction projects planned throughout this year.  Additional information on specific projects can be found on their website at www.barroncountywi.gov.  Also stay tuned to future press releases.  Any questions may be directed to the Barron Highway Department at 715-637-3755.  The Barron County Highway Department workers and families thank you in advance for slowing down and driving attentively through our work zones. Together let’s keep the work zones in Barron County safe for everyone.  

Mark Servi, Highway Commissioner
Barron County Highway Department
260 North 7th Street
Barron, WI  54812
(715) 637-3755 (Phone)
(715) 637-3061 (Fax)

Attached Document or FileVideo Featuring Karen Burkhalter  Karen's husband lost his life in a Work Zone in 2015.