Before road construction across Michigan kicks into high gear, a statewide safety coalition is hoping motorists pay close attention to a new highway work zone speed limit sign.
The new sign, “Where Workers Present 45,” means that motorists must reduce their speed to 45 where workers are present in highway work zones. Last year, motorists were required to reduce their speed to 45 in highway work zones - even where workers were not present.
“We believe these new requirements, which were established by the Michigan Department of Transportation, will provide consistent application of speed limits in all work zones to promote the safety and protection of workers and motorists,” said Gary Jorgensen, business manager of Michigan Laborers' District Council, trade union and member of Michigan's Give 'em a Brake Safety Coalition.
As always, work zones will have additional signage regarding road work ahead, reduced speed zone ahead, work zone begins, end road work and lane closure signs as applicable. Sgt. Kevin C. Beasley of the Michigan State Police Traffic Services Section said the “Where Workers Present 45” sign will make enforcement of work zone speed limits easier than in the past.
“Since 1988, changes in the Michigan Vehicle Code have affected work zone speed limits in Michigan,” Beasley said. “This has resulted in different speed limit criteria being applied from region to region. These inconsistencies have made enforcement difficult as the motorist may see speed limits reduced 10 mph in one work zone, and then see 25 mph reductions in another work zone.”
Motorists are advised to “Look, Locate, and Lower” when traveling through work zones. Specifically, when approaching “Road Work Ahead” signs, motorists should maintain the posted speed limit, look for workers, locate workers, and lower speed to 45 where workers are present.
The Michigan Give 'em a Brake Safety Coalition hopes that establishment and use of the new requirements will provide consistent application of speed limits in all work zones in order to protect highway workers and motorists.
The safety coalition will launch a new radio and bumper sticker campaign within the next month to promote awareness of the new requirements. The safety effort is funded by the Michigan Laborers' District Council, the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, Operating Engineers Local 324, Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association.
Advisory members of the coalition include the Michigan State Police, Michigan Sheriff's Association, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, Michigan Center for Truck Safety, Michigan Department of State, Michigan Highway Traffic Safety Alliance, NES Traffic Safety, and Sara Nelson, a highway safety advocate.