NEW YORK -- Construction season has begun, a reminder to slow down as you're driving by work zones.
Some buildings and bridges around New York will be lit up orange to mark National Work Zone Awareness Week, and the state is putting up speed cameras on some highways near workers.
Five years ago, a Department of Transportation bridge electrician was struck and killed at his worksite on the Hutchinson River Parkway in the Bronx.
Last month, a driver crashed through a gap of protective barriers at a work zone on I-695 in Baltimore County, Maryland, killing six construction workers.
"Anything can happen at any second," said John Murray of the General Contractors Association.
In New York in 2021, there were 378 instances in which a vehicle entered a portion of closed roadway undergoing construction or maintenance. More than 50 of those intrusions resulted in injuries to either a worker or person in the vehicle.
Under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, city and state transportation officials renewed their calls for drivers to slow down.
"Put the phone down, pay attention to your surroundings. Secondly, treat us like your family is out there," said Eric Brown of the city Department of Transportation.
To further drive home the message, the state has launched a pilot program placing speed cameras on mobile units in maintenance and construction work zones on state highways and parkways on a rolling basis.
"We have approximately 20 locations statewide, including Long Island. We're going to soon be implementing one or two locations here in the city as well," said John Wong of the state DOT.
For the first 30 days of this pilot program drivers will be issued warnings. After that, the first violation will be a $50 fine. The second will be $75 and third, $100.
"If people are getting tickets I'm sure it's going to deter them from speeding in a construction zone," Murray said.
"The speed cameras for the school zone program have been pretty successful for us," Brown added. "The percentage has dropped as far as speeders in certain roadways."
They say slowing down protects them and you.
State police will also be conducting Operation Hardhat. They'll be dressed as highway maintenance workers in active work zones ticketing drivers who disobey laws.
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