Things that work

By Brad Halseth
      Let me start by saying that I cannot count the number of near misses that I have experienced in work zones as a KDOT employee from things such as motorists running past flagmen, driving through the cones or on the wrong side of cones, or just completely ignoring the traffic control. I am not only fortunate but thankful that I have never been part of an accident in a work zone that cost someone their life. A large part of that I am sure is due to the fact that we are deliberate with the way we set up our traffic control.
      In work zones all across the country, the color orange is associated with traffic control and work zone awareness in general. The color orange is a color that seemingly gets motorists’ attention better than any other. With that being said, people also want to get through work zones as quickly or as painless as possible also, which tends make them less observant from time to time.
      I know that we as an agency look for ways to improve or enhance the safety in our work zones. I have had an opportunity at KDOT to work in many variations of work zones over the years as updates and procedure changes have occurred. Some of these changes were an improvement and worked well, and with others the impact on the traveling public was very minimal.
      Since the introduction of the LED light bars to our trucks we have noticed that these tend to get the attention of motorists. Some of our vehicles are also equipped with white LED lights which have been even more beneficial.
      For many years we used a construction grade sheeting for our signage in work zones. We now use a more high performance sheeting which also makes our signs stand out to the traveling public. We also add flags that add a moving visual element to our work zones as they move in the Kansas wind.
      These are just a few items that helped aid our work efforts over the years, I am sure that there will be other changes in the future. We will continue to incorporate changes as they are made as I am sure they are for the safety of our employees and the motorists of Kansas.
Brad Halseth is the Area Superintendent at the Great Bend KDOT office.


  1. I totally agree with Mr. Halseth, all the hard working employees at Kansas Department of Transportation and our construction partners strive every day to enhance the traffic control devices that are used in work zones to promote safety. All this effort is secondary to what goes on behind the wheel as vehicles that pass through our work zones. We all must do our part and “Don’t Be That Driver.” Ditch the distractions and focus on the ORANGE. Drive safe, others are counting on you.

  2. It's unfortunate that Brad and his crew have been in near-miss situations. But I understand it and I see how it can happen. Distracted driving is a huge problem and it seems to be getting worse.

    Drivers MUST focus on their driving and give the phone a rest when they are behind the wheel. Let's keep road construction crews safe and let them go home at the end of the day -- safe and sound.

  3. Transportation agencies and contractors have done, and continue to do, a good job of developing practices and equipment that enhance their safety working alongside traffic. But they are still vulnerable to motorists who don't give driving their full attention. We can't flourish as a society unless we have, among other things, a well-maintained transportation system. Please respect that and the people who maintain the system by giving full attention to the road when you are behind the wheel.

  4. David Greiser4/15/2016

    With the many distractions facing drivers these days it is imperative that we do all we can to capture and hold drivers attention. The changes Brad mentions are making a difference but the biggest difference must come from those behind the wheel. The majority of those injured in work zone crashes are not construction employees but passengers inside the offending vehicles. We must all make the effort to stay alert and follow the signs when passing thru a work zone.