|INDIANA, PA - As Mother Nature closes Pennsylvania's long winter season, many motorists may notice PennDOT's follow-up maintenance work to counter the cold weather’s impact on pavements. |
In the five-county region covered by PennDOT District 10, motorists will likely encounter several different types of maintenance or construction work zones. PennDOT offers these tips to help motorists recognize their next work zone:
• Construction work zones are generally long-term highway improvement projects or new highway construction. Signs posted for these projects are larger with reflective panels placed beneath. In many cases, the work zones are protected by Jersey Barriers and may extend for miles. Flaggers may be present during different phases of the project to control traffic flow. The project may also involve night work to minimize traffic congestion. Motorists should use extreme caution as traffic patterns may change during the construction process. To assist motorists with planning their trips, some large construction projects have websites for motorists to get up-to-date information before their travels.
• Maintenance work zones vary depending on the type of work being performed. They include:
o Stationary maintenance work zones involve crews at one site for the duration of the road repair. Temporary work zone signs are placed along the highway and flaggers are used for traffic control. Delays are usually minimal and may involve a partial lane closure. Motorists should use extreme caution as workers are directly exposed to moving traffic. Routine maintenance work schedules are usually printed in local newspapers and broadcast by local radio stations.
o Slow moving maintenance work zones involve activities such as crack sealing, pothole patching, shoulder grading and seal coating. These activities require the crews to move as the work progresses. Motorists who travel the same route every day may encounter work zones in numerous locations from day to day. Flaggers will be present to direct traffic through the work zone.
o Moving work zones involve activities such as highway line painting and sweeping. Highway crews travel at slow speeds to clean and repaint the yellow center paint lines and the white fog line. Motorists should stay back at least six to eight car lengths and should stay off the wet paint lines.
o Emergency work zones and highway detours are set up when an unexpected hazard occurs, such as a fallen tree, flooded highway or a vehicle crash.
• Utility work zones involve phone, electric, water, cable and gas companies. These companies are responsible to set up safe work zones in accordance with Pennsylvania State law and regulations (Pub 203). Depending on the nature of the problem, these work zones are generally short in duration. Flaggers are sometimes utilized, depending on the circumstances. Motorist delays are usually minimal. Motorists should always be on the lookout for work zone signs and reduce their speed accordingly.
• Private contractor work zones involve contractors such as driveway paving companies, developers, permit work, tree trimming companies and pipeline companies. These contractors must also comply with Pennsylvania State laws and regulations requiring safe work zone standards. Motorists may encounter these work zones at any given time usually with no prior notice. These work zones usually are short in length and involve minimal delays.
PennDOT asks motorists, no matter what type of work zone they may encounter, to please use caution, slow down, expect the unexpected, not to tailgate and show respect for workers.
If you encounter an unsafe work zone, report it by calling the State Police or 1-800-FIX ROAD.
For more information on roadway construction and maintenance operations this summer, access District 10's website at www.dot.state.pa.us. Weekly construction and maintenance schedules for each county will be posted on the site.
4 of 5 part series