For Kane County, National Work Zone Awareness Week — a nationwide campaign to bring awareness of the importance of work zone safety kicking off across the United States from April 9 to April 13 — has special meaning.
The Kane County Division of Transportation lost a co-worker in a tragic work zone crash in 2016, when Steve Chidester was hit by a vehicle while working on the roadway.
In memory of Chidester, KDOT staff will conduct a clean-up along Harter Road on Saturday, April 7, as part of the county’s Adopt-A-Highway program. KDOT staff will also “GO Orange” on Wednesday, April 11, to honor Steve and represent awareness for roadway safety, respect and remembrance for fallen workers nationwide.
With the most recent statistics from the Federal Highway Administration stating that there were about 96,626 crashes in work zones — an increased percentage from previous years — National Work Zone Awareness Week underscores the need for further awareness of how to work and drive safely in work zones.
This year’s national kick-off event will be taking place on April 10 in Chicago, at the Jane Byrne Interchange. Media are encouraged to attend the kick-off, which will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Peoria Street pedestrian bridge over Interstate 290. This year’s NWZAW theme is Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility.
At the kick-off, several speakers are slated to attend, including Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn and Christine Nichols, the widow of Ryan Nichols, who was killed in a work zone crash. Construction workers, officers from the Illinois State Police, and roadway safety industry experts will also be available for interview following the speaking portion of the event.
As part of NWZAW, all are also encouraged to participate in Go Orange Day on April 11, a day where individuals are encouraged to wear orange as a visual reminder to others of work zones, and post photos of their Go Orange Day activities to further spread awareness of work zone safety. While some NWZAW are fun, engaging activities, it’s important to remember the seriousness of work zone related injuries and fatalities, and the toll it takes on families across the United States.
State departments of transportation, federal agencies, and other organizations will be participating in NWZAW and Go Orange Day, putting out PSAs about work zone safety, and hosting events to highlight the issue. For additional information on the history of NWZAW, visit this web page.
To follow NWZAW and Go Orange Day posts and engagement on social media, search the hashtags #OrangeForSafety and #GoOrangeDay, and follow ATSSA on Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE: KDOT, ATSSA news releases