Traffic zone safety from the other side of the cones

By Ryan Blosser
      With over 20 years in the construction business, I’ve seen my fair share of work zones and more accidents than I can remember. 
      One instance I remember like it was yesterday was when we were repairing the Kansas Turnpike. We had the road closed to one lane and were working behind the cones in the closed lane. I vividly remember looking back at the oncoming traffic and seeing a car slowing to a stop in the open lane. What happened next I will never forget. 
      Coming around a corner in the open lane was a tanker truck loaded with crude oil. The truck driver couldn’t stop in time and had three options.  He could hit the car and most likely kill the stopping driver, swerve into the closed lane and kill all of us working on the highway or head for the ditch and possibly hit a bridge pier and kill himself. Lucky for us he took the ditch option. 
      As the truck went by on nine of his 18 wheels, it narrowly missed the bridge and somehow came to a rest on all its tires.  As he pulled out of the ditch and into the closed area, I ran down to make sure he was alright and thanked him for not taking the closed lane option. Looking back at that near miss I was able to see how something as simple as not slowing down in a traffic zone turned in a nightmare. We were lucky no one was hurt.
      Working closely with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority you learn quickly that a priority is the traveling public and the workers’ safety.  As a Project Manager I feel personally responsible for both the safety of my crews and employees along with every person who travels through that work zone. So I ask, for your safety and ours, if you’re driving through a work zone please put down your phone, look out ahead, pay attention, follow the signs and KEEP MOVING FORWARD! 
      Ryan Blosser is the General Manager/Contractor Division of Hamm Inc. in Perry


  1. It's a sad truth that anyone who has worked alongside the road has had multiple 'close call' experiences with traffic. . . like this one. Paying attention is all it takes to keep workers safe. Thanks for reminding us, Ryan.

  2. Lisa Mussman4/14/2016

    Scary story, but glad it had a safe ending. Unfortunately, many do not. Another reminder of how important it is to stay aware of your surroundings.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience Ryan. There are too many close calls in work zones that are never spoken about. Distracted driving can have deadly consequences, especially with large vehicles such as a tanker truck.

  4. Anonymous4/14/2016

    I got chills just reading your story. Wow! Thanks for sharing and be safe out there.