CDOT says this year’s national theme is, ‘Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility." Kyle Lester, CDOT director of maintenance says workers are trained to watch out for oncoming traffic. In turn, they’re asking the traveling public to be ever diligent when coming up on work zones, giving the road your full attention: don’t be on your cellphones; look out for other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and construction zone workers.
In 2017, there were 15 work zone fatalities in Colorado. This was more than double the deaths that occurred over the past several years. These fatalities included workers from the private sector who work in road construction zones.
The statistics are sobering. Four out of five work zone fatalities are motorists with one work zone fatality occurring nationwide every 15 hours.
CDOT hosts a Remembrance Day in each of its five regions, and at its headquarters, to remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty. CDOT has lost a total of 60 lives in work zone areas since 1929.
This year, National Work Zone Awareness Week is even more meaningful to the employees of CDOT because of the loss of one of its own.
CDOT Maintenance Operator Nolan Olson died earlier this year after he sustained injuries from being struck by a vehicle while working on a US highway. Olson’s death sheds light on the importance of slowing down and giving undivided attention while driving through work zones.
The crash occurred on Feb. 2nd, when Olson, a member of the Pagosa Springs maintenance patrol—was filling potholes on US Highway 160 in Southwest Colorado. Olson was severely injured and transported to a Denver area hospital, where he received treatment for more than a week. Olson succumbed to his injuries and died on Feb. 11th.
In honor of National Work Zone Safety Week, CDOT asks the public to go orange. Join state employees by wearing orange on Wednesday, April 11th, "Go Orange Day." All roadway safety professionals across the country are encouraged to wear orange on this day to support work zone safety while also honoring the families of those who lost their lives in work zones.
Additionally, members of the public who frequent social media will also note that CDOT is promoting a "profile frame." This is a visual tool offered to followers to help heighten awareness and show support for particular causes, like work zone safety. Visit CDOT’s Facebook page to learn more, and to view videos and safety tips throughout Work Zone Awareness Week.