DOH, police eyeing fast drivers through work zone areas more closely

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In an effort to prevent more wrecks in work zone areas, the state’s Division of Highways is ramping up its monitoring of speeders.

The DOH and public safety officials will be monitoring the five-mile work zone surrounding the area, hoping to slow down drivers and prevent any unnecessary crashes in the area. West Virginia State Police, the Public Service Commission, Sheriff’s Departments in Kanawha and Putnam County, and Police Departments from Nitro and St. Albans will target fast or reckless drivers.

Construction continues on a bridge project on I-64 in the Nitro-St. Albans area.

Work Zone Safety spokesperson for the WVDOH Randy Damron explains why eighty percent of the work zone crashes are rear-end collisions.

“It’s because the person wasn’t paying attention and was traveling too fast,” Damron said. “The least motorists can do is to be considerate, slow down, and recognize that there are men and women in the roadway.”

Speed limits are reduced to 55 mph in highway work zones, because these zones can become more narrow and rougher for drivers to operate through.

“Working on the roads is a challenge,” Damron said. “You’re in constant danger when there’s traffic.”

Last year, there were 800 crashes in work zones across the state, resulting in eight deaths and injuring more than 270 people.

State Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston said these injuries and deaths can be easily fixed.

“Lay those phones down and stop speeding in the work zones,” said Wriston.

Wriston said there needs to be a culture change with how drivers navigate through these work zones or drive anywhere in general.

“We need to have an impact on how people operate on these roads, we have to impact the behavior of the drivers on the road.” the transportation secretary said.

Units from the West Virginia State Police and local sheriff’s and police departments will have extra patrols in these work zones along the I-64 corridor. The WVDOH is also putting up more signs and radar speed monitors in the work zones.