The American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) recognized 10 public and private organizations for their commitment to promoting safety during the association’s 14th annual “Roadway Work Zone Safety Awareness Awards” held during a September 12 luncheon at ARTBA’s National Convention in Memphis, Tenn.
The competition recognizes outstanding programs, campaigns and technologies aimed at helping reduce roadway work zone accidents, injuries and fatalities. Winners were announced in three categories:
Outreach Campaigns: Recognizes efforts that promote roadway work zone safety through implementation of employee and/or public education campaigns on a national, state or local level.
Training Programs: Honors state and local educational programs that promote worker safety on the job site.
Innovations in Technology: Recognizes the import role that technology plays in improving safety in and around work zones with innovative products and methodologies or innovative applications to existing products and methodologies.
Outreach Campaign/National Level – First Place
DBi Services, LLC: “National Work Zone Safety Week Billboard & High School Outreach Program”
During National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week in April, DBi Services sponsored a series of billboard ads to remind the motoring public of the importance of driving cautiously in work zones and about the need to work toward “Zero Deaths” on the nation’s roadways. The billboards appeared along stretches of highway in Florida and Virginia that had the potential to reach 75,000 motorists per day. DBi employees also distributed over 1,500 work zone safety “fact sheets” at rest areas near construction sites. In an effort to educate new drivers on the need to drive cautiously in work zones, the company also distributed literature to 180 high schools located near projects in both states, reaching over 20,000 students.
Outreach Campaign/State Level – First Place
Missouri Department of Transportation: “Barrel Bob, Missouri’s
Spokesbarrel for Work Zone Safety”
The “Barrel Bob” outreach program is the Missouri DOT’s effort to improve work zone safety by engaging motorists’ imaginations. The 11-foot, plastic mascot, made of orange construction barrels, visits work zones where he points to message boards, reminding drivers to pay attention, mind their speed and drive defensively. After appearing at a construction project along Missouri’s I-435 in Kansas City, the near daily crashes and near-misses in the work zone were significantly reduced. With almost 5,000 followers on Facebook, “Barrel Bob” also uses social media to spread his safety message and engage the public by facilitating comments and sharing stories on the Internet.
Outreach Campaign/State Level – Second Place
Texas Department of Transporation (TxDOT): “Safety: Mission Zero Campaign”
TxDOT recently implemented a multi-faceted campaign called “Mission Zero” to promote work zone safety among both construction crews and the motoring public. In partnership with the AGC of Central Texas, the department created a “Safe Worker Awareness” video to raise awareness and train state field workers and contractors on best. They also coordinated a statewide media and public education campaign with all 25 of its districts in observance of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week. It included podcasts, social media outreach, a work zone fair and press conferences with elected officials resulting in nearly three million media impressions. Finally, to support their outreach efforts, TxDOT made several improvements to its work zone equipment and internal procedures, such as using enhanced personal protective equipment with greater visibility, designating spotters, creating “work free zones” and providing hand-held portable radios to promote greater communication.
Outreach Campaign/Local Level – First Place
Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT): “Think Safety Outreach Campaign”
Because many roadway construction projects run through neighborhoods and school zones, UDOT launched a “Think Safety” campaign to educate students on the dangers of entering work zones. The program reached nearly 20,000 elementary, middle and high school students through on-site demonstrations during school assemblies and lunch-time gatherings. Students became part of the presentation, by participating in a relay race through a mock construction site. Children were challenged to navigate obstacles in a rolling cart while obeying caution signs and student flaggers.
Outreach Campaign/Local Level – Second Place
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)-Hampton Roads:
“Work Zone Awareness Senior Safety Challenge”
During National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, VDOT Hampton Roads worked with three high schools along a local work zone to initiate a “Senior Safety Challenge” aimed at promoting safe driving in work zones among high school seniors. They asked the students to sign a pledge acknowledging that they were aware of work zone hazards and would put down their phones when driving through a work zone. Before signing the pledge, students reviewed a profile of various VDOT employees who worked in their area and statistics explaining the consequences of driving recklessly. Students also received an orange silicone wristband to remind them to use caution in work zones. The high school with the highest percentage of signatures received gift cards and a donation to their school’s driver education program.
Training Programs/State Level – First Place
The Lane Construction Corporation: “Effective Use of Law Enforcement in Work Zones Training”
Before beginning construction on a heavily traveled and often dangerous stretch of I-35 in McLennan, Texas, the Lane Construction Corporation launched a work zone safety class for local law enforcement personnel, teaching the officers best-practices in work zone set up, guidelines of temporary traffic control in work zones and proper work zone-related procedures following a traffic accident. The program trained over 500 police officers, state troopers, sheriffs, firefighters and dispatchers, and has improved communication and strengthened the relationship between contractors and law enforcement personnel. Most importantly, there have been no injuries to workers since the project began last March.
Training Programs/Local Level – First Place
APAC Southeast Inc., an Oldcastle Materials Company: “Backing Up Light System”
Employees at APAC Southeast in central Florida, were concerned about crew safety during the backing up of trucks in the work zone. They shared their concerns with APAC managers who convened a company-wide safety meeting and empowered the employees to develop a unique lighting system that would allow dump trucks to safely and efficiently back up to paving machines, transfer vehicles and milling machines without a dedicated spotter. After several field tested prototypes, the team came up with an innovative green light/red light signaling device that attaches to the machines, providing truck drivers with clear direction as to when to stop and start. The unit’s LED lighting ensures visibility under all conditions and lights on both sides of the device ensure all crew members can see what direction the truck driver has been provided.
Innovations in Technology/Products – First Place
Mobile Barriers, LLC: “Mobile Barrier MBT-1”
Mobile Barriers has created a large steel barrier that provides a protected, self-contained work area for roadway construction crews. Known as the MBT-1, the enormous, mobile structure, which looks like a barge, can withstand the impact of a tractor trailer. Its extended five-foot wall reduces rubbernecking, and because it is easily maneuvered, the structure can allow for shorter and fewer lane closures, reducing disruption to passing traffic. Onboard generators and signage allow for fewer machines and trucks in the work zone and its 90 degree, overhead lighting improves visibility and lessens glare, reducing the probability of incidents in and around work zones.
Innovations in Technology/Products – Second Place
Plastic Safety Systems, Inc.: “RoadQuake 2: Temporary Portable Rumble Strips”
RoadQuake 2 Temporary Portable Rumble Strips, developed by Plastic Safety Systems, is a work zone safety countermeasure designed to make drivers aware of changes in traffic patterns and upcoming work zones, while ultimately protecting workers. Unlike traditional rumble strips, no nails or adhesives are needed. Installed perpendicular to traffic, across the travel lane, RoadQuake 2 temporary strips alert drivers to the changing road conditions with the same level of sound and vibration as permanent rumble installations and can withstand subfreezing temperatures.
Innovations in Technology/Methodology – First Place
The Lane Construction Corporation: “I-85 Widening - Temporary Median Access Bridge and Ramps”
The Lane Construction Corporation found an innovative way to protect workers and the traveling public while accelerating the construction schedule during the widening of eight miles of Interstate-85 in Cabarrus County, N.C. The majority of the new roadway width is being constructed within the existing 70-foot median, resulting in a very difficult access challenge and posing serious safety risk. Repurposing construction materials that Lane recovered from other projects, the company created a unique temporary bridge structure over the interstate with access ramps into the median work zone. This bridge connects the worksite on both sides of the highway with the median area, while separating construction vehicles from passenger cars and eliminating the need to haul 40,000 loads of material through heavy interstate traffic.
Innovations in Technology/Methodology – Second Place
Lindsay Transportation Solutions: “San Francisco Doyle Drive Bypass”
The Doyle Drive Demolition Project in San Francisco utilized over a mile of moveable median barriers produced by Lindsay Transportation Solutions during the reconstruction of a busy, five lane bypass between the Golden Gate Bridge and the downtown area. The barriers were shifted back and forth throughout the day in order to offer more lanes to the traveling public during peak traffic times. They provided positive barrier protection between opposing traffic lanes, eliminating the possibility of crossover head-on collisions, where before there were only plastic channelizers that provided little to no protection from oncoming traffic. Four days after the barriers were installed, an intoxicated driver struck the barriers at a significant speed and angle. Instead of crossing over and creating a head-on collision, the vehicle was redirected and no other cars were involved.
The ARTBA-TDF was established in 1985 as a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt entity to promote research, education and public awareness. It supports an array of initiatives, including educational scholarships, awards, roadway work zone safety and training programs, special economic reports and a national exhibition on transportation.