Road work awareness week pre-empts summer cone zones |

Road work awareness week pre-empts summer cone zones

SUMMIT COUNTY – It’s Work Zone Awareness Week in the department of transportation world, but Summit County motorists won’t be fully aware of work zones for another couple weeks.

The Work Zone Awareness Week ends Saturday. Colorado Department of Transportation heads, the Colorado State Patrol and contractors involved in highway work hope the statewide campaign will remind motorists to slow down around the orange cones of road projects.

In 2001, 132,500 accidents occurred in Colorado construction zones, resulting in 626 injuries and seven deaths, according to CDOT statistics.

The awareness week includes increased enforcement by state troopers on speeders and drunk drivers.

“We emphasize and strongly support double fines for speeders in work zones,” said CDOT executive director Tom Norton in a press release. “The people who work in construction and maintenance zones are members of your community. We really want people to slow down because there’s no reason for drivers to risk their own safety or the safety of these workers.”

If warm weather continues, road projects in the Summit County vicinity could begin by the end of the month, said CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson. Projects planned in the mountain area include:

n Highway 9 north – Shoulder-widening, retaining walls and curve work will mark the conclusion of a three-year, $14 million project north of Silverthorne, between mile 109 and 115. A CDOT engineer said the work shouldn’t cause delays like last summer’s work.

n Highway 6 paving – Overlay work between Summit Cove and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is expected to take 65 days beginning in May. At least one lane of the highway should remain open in both directions during the project.

n Dillon Valley noise wall – Crews are already at work on Interstate 70, connecting berms to protect the neighborhood abutting the highway.

n Other areas: CDOT also plans to re-pave Highway 9 south of Hoosier Pass in Park County, complete erosion control work near the Eisenhower Tunnel and resurface I-70 west of Vail Pass.

In the past, road projects have incited anger in motorists and residents. Work on Highway 9, for example, sparked heated debates and even vandals manipulating cones in the area. The awareness campaign partners hope drivers remember that the safety of workers is at stake.

“Everyone working in the zones is at risk,” said CSP Capt. Ron Prater in Silverthorne. “It certainly can be very dangerous if people don’t slow down.”

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

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