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.