Transportation construction group urges FHWA to strengthen safety provisions

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The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has joined with five other transportation construction advocacy groups in urging the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to strengthen worker safety provisions.

In a letter to Mr. Martin C. Knopp, associate administrator for Operations with FHWA, the group asked that the administration consider the lives of roadway construction workers in formulating its Work Zone Safety Strategy Plan (WZSSP).

“As a segment of the industry that represents the workers who labor on these roadway construction projects and are exposed to many hazards posed both by construction operations and passing traffic, we would like to share some focused input on the WZSSP worker safety provisions, which we jointly feel are critical to emphasize,” the group, which also included the American Concrete Pavement Association, American Highway Users Alliance, American Traffic Safety Services Association, Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North America, and the National Asphalt Pavement Association, wrote in its Jan. 6 letter.

Citing the death of nearly 200 roadway construction workers annually, as well as the injury of thousands of others, the group asked the FHWA to enhance protections for them as they do their jobs. The group urged the FHWA to adopt and improve measures to promote automated speed enforcement; reduce work zone intrusions through enhanced positive protection; deploy new technologies to warn and advise motorists; reduce speeds during temporary traffic control deployment; and encourage the use of safety contingency funds approved in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

ARTBA said it sees the WZSSP as an important piece of guidance to state departments of transportation, local governments, and the private sector as a way to improve work zone safety.

The FHWA is scheduled to meet with stakeholders soon to review feedback for the WZSSP and will address the feedback in the final document.