NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - For many North Texans it seems as if every local highway is currently under construction -- and the assessment isn't far off. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) there are nearly two dozens construction zones along Interstate-35 alone.
TxDOT executive director Phil Wilson said, "We have work zones on more than 109 miles of the 407 miles of I-35, in Texas."
Some of the largest construction programs in state history are underway right now. "We have 20 active work zones from the Red River down to Laredo, [that's] the most work zones the department has ever seen along I-35."
Though it may seem a lot of projects were simply bundled together, TxDOT public information officer Val Lopez said there was a great degree of planning and a lot of factors that were taken into consideration. 'This is the time of year where it's easier to work with concrete and asphalt, which are typically temperature sensitive. So, we take advantage of the warmer months here in Texas."
Along with the increased number of construction comes the issue of worker safety. According to TxDOT records, some 134 people were killed in work zone crashes last year in the state and one out of five people injured in crashes in Texas work zones are state employees.
This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, but Lopez says there are things TxDOT is trying to get drivers to do everyday. "Put their cell phones down, be patient, and don't tailgate. We're seeing a lot of our accidents as a result of alcohol and drugs. Up to 83-percent of our fatalities in work zones are because of those factors."
TxDOT is simply advising drivers to slow down, stay alert and be aware of traffic signs when approaching work zones.
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