Gov. Tony Evers proclaimed April 26-30 as Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will be taking part in a nationwide campaign to spread awareness about safe driving as construction and maintenance activity increases for the spring and summer months.
- View the Every Driver Makes A Difference public service announcements which feature WisDOT employees asking drivers to be mindful of speeding and distractions.
- Download the 2021 Wisconsin Work Zone Safety Fact Sheet and look for information, statistics and tips throughout the summer in WisDOT’s social media.
“One thing that unites us all as highway workers and motorists is that we all want to make it home to our families,” said WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson. “Even the smallest distraction can lead to a tragedy on the highway, so we ask everyone to stay focused – buckle up, phone down.”
Last year, despite traffic reductions related to the pandemic, there was still a work zone crash every 3.5 hours in Wisconsin. Over the past five years, Wisconsin work zones have seen more than 13,000 crashes causing 59 deaths and more than 5,000 injuries. The vast majority of crash victims are drivers and passengers with speed, tailgating and distracted driving all common factors.
“Every moment matters behind the wheel,” said Tony Burrell, superintendent of the Wisconsin State Patrol. “We ask all drivers to stay focused, plan ahead and always expect the unexpected.”
Even at a reduced speed of 55 mph, a vehicle covers 80 feet per second, or the length of a football field in under four seconds.
In Wisconsin, work zones include major highway construction and rolling maintenance operations as well as emergency response, municipal projects and utility work along local roads. Wisconsin’s efforts are in coordination with National Work Zone Awareness Week.
Highway 14 Construction
Construction on Highway 14 through Mazomanie started last week, WisDOT manager Steven Thiesen provided an update to Valley Sentinel on work zone safety and progress for the project.
Valley Sentinel: With the Work Zone Awareness Week proclamation, we wanted to check in to see how the HWY 14/Mazomanie construction was going?
Steven Thiesen: The project is just getting started, but the construction is going per plan thus far.
VS: With construction and flagging operations going on for a week now in a busy commuter corridor, have drivers been respectful of the construction workers?
ST: Yes, for the most part. We always remind drivers to do their part in work zones – be alert, slow down and eliminate distractions.
VS: Have there been an incidents of driver recklessness in the construction zone?
ST: Crews have observed speeding in the construction zone as well as drivers on cell phones. As the news release states, every driver makes a difference. We urge drivers to keep their head up and speeds down in the work zone. It is also illegal to use a hand-held mobile device in work zones.
VS: Is there anything you’d like drivers to know about work zone safety awareness as they go about their commute on HWY 14?
ST: The space available to keep traffic on the roadway during the construction is very limited so the resulting construction zones are narrow. Therefore, we need the traveling public to be alert when going through this work zone.
The first weeks of the US 14 project consist of temporary widening along the existing pavement to create ample space to shift traffic for the actual construction.
Weather and work dependent, starting early next week, crews will shift both directions of US 14/Commercial Street traffic to the far north side of the existing roadway. During this stage, crews will complete the reconstruction of the south half of the roadway through Mazomanie. A significant part of this reconstruction is replacing all of the storm sewer system through the Village. Crews will reconstruct the roadway; pour new curb and gutter with the new storm sewer; place new sidewalk and install new light poles and traffic signals. This work will run through June.
Around the second week of June, all US 14 traffic will be detoured for three (3) weeks for storm sewer work near County KP. The official detour is WIS 78 to Sauk City and WIS 60 back to Spring Green. We recognize that drivers familiar with the area will use local roadways during the three-week closure. The new storm sewer system is very deep and cannot be installed with traffic on the roadway. Crews will also be working on finishing up the reconstruction of the south half of the roadway during this time.
Once the highway reopens after the three-week closure, crews anticipate shifting both lanes of US 14 traffic onto the newly reconstructed roadway. Crews will then repeat the process for the north half of the roadway.
Access remains open along US 14 during construction. We encourage the public to continue to patronize the local businesses.
More information about the US 14 project can be found at projects.511wi.gov/us14/.
The project is scheduled for completion in late September.