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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

During National Work Zone Awareness Week, FHWA Underscores its Commitment to Safety for Workers and Other Vulnerable Road Users

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

FHWA 14-23
Tel.: (202) 366-0660

WASHINGTON – During this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 17-21) the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reaffirms its commitment to improve safety for road construction workers and other vulnerable road users outside of vehicles. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is investing in America by helping States, Tribes, and local communities strengthen safety on their roadways.

"Every person in a work zone is somebody's parent, child, sibling, loved one, or friend, and we want every single one of them to return home safely to their loved ones when their shift is done," said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. "By working closely with our state and local partners we are bringing the investments of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to bear in order to help save lives and strengthen the safety of those working in our nation's construction zones."

In a kickoff event today in Rocheport, Missouri, FHWA Executive Director Gloria Shepherd joined Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials in reminding drivers to keep highway workers safe as construction season ramps up and highlighted how the legislation can improve safety in work zones. The event, organized by MoDOT, was held at the Lance Corporal Leon Deraps I-70 Westbound Missouri River Bridge project.

“We intend to use every program and funding option at our disposal under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make our surface transportation safer including in areas where repairs, maintenance and construction are underway,” said FHWA Executive Director Shepherd. “The safety of highway workers and others on roads, bridges and highways across the country is FHWA’s number one priority.”

USDOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, which outlines the Department’s comprehensive approach to significantly reducing serious injuries and deaths on our Nation’s roadways, emphasizes the need to make roadway construction and maintenance zones safe for workers as roadways are built, maintained, and upgraded with the latest safety features. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides funding through a number of programs that can be used to improve safety on roads where construction crews are at work. The law guarantees $5 billion to local governments for the new Safe Streets and Roads for All Discretionary Grant program and $15.6 billion in total funding to State DOTs under the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), FHWA’s signature highway safety funding program to make roads safer for all road users. The law also includes several other provisions that can improve work zone safety, including:

  • Congestion Relief Program discretionary grants that can be used for deployment and operation of integrated congestion management systems, which must include work zone management;
  • a Data Integration Pilot program for work zone data collection and traveler information activities;
  • Federal funds apportioned to each state through HSIP that can now be used for automated traffic enforcement system programs in a work zone; and,
  • a higher federal share – up to 100% – for certain projects that utilize innovative project delivery, including those that provide contingency funds to incorporate safety enhancements to work zones.

Additionally, the USDOT recently announced innovation-focused SMART discretionary grants funded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for State DOTs that will improve work zone safety, including a multi-state collaboration that will deploy Automated Truck-Mounted Crash Attenuators, projects that will leverage the Work Zone Data Exchange Specification, and more than a dozen others that address worker safety.

FHWA’s Work Zone Safety Grant Program, which has been used to train more than 122,000 field workers, and state, local and Tribal personnel in nearly 4,300 courses, also continues under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with $12 million provided for grants to non-profit organizations over five years and funding for the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse.

Crashes in highway work zones happen most frequently when drivers are speeding or aren’t paying attention to changing road conditions. In 2021, the most recent year for which data are available, 956 people died in highway work zone crashes in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, operated by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute in coordination with FHWA, has additional data on work zone fatalities.

As a show of support for highway workers, FHWA and its National Work Zone Awareness Week partners are urging the public to wear orange on Wednesday, April 19, for a national “Go Orange” Day.

For more information on this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit National Work Zone Awareness Week - FHWA Work Zone, follow @USDOTFHWA on Twitter, and use hashtags #NWZAW, #Orange4Safety and #OrangeForSafety.

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