The Indiana Department of Transportation is overseeing the investment of more than $2 billion in 1,300 road construction projects and preventative maintenance activities in 2021 to continue fostering economic efficiency and quality of life improvements for citizens statewide.
[Above photo by the Indiana DOT]
That program includes a “renewed focused” on improving work zone safety, according to the agency – helped along by three new systems being deployed more widely across Indiana’s roadway system after a year of testing.
“Indiana’s economy is firing on all cylinders as we fight through the challenges of a global pandemic,” noted Governor Eric Holcomb (R) in a statement. “Our best-in-class transportation assets are critical components to our blueprint for success and we’re making strategic investments necessary to provide a safe, reliable transportation system that fuels Indiana’s continued success.”
Joe McGuinness, Indiana DOT’s commissioner, added that his agency also aims to improve work zone safety during the 2021 construction season in partnership with both its construction contractors and law enforcement agencies.
“Hoosiers will once again see more orange barrels than ever before across Indiana this construction season,” he pointed out.
“Those barrels are a sign of the progress we’re making to build and maintain our transportation system so that communities continue to grow and prosper and people can travel safely and conveniently across the state,” McGuinness added. “Those orange barrels are also a reminder to slow down and pay extra attention in work zones to make sure people who work in and drive through our work zones stay safe.”
McGuinness added that in 2019, Gov. Holcomb’s administration directed the Indiana DOT and the Indiana State Police to research and implement solutions to reduce the risk of work zone crashes.
A multi-agency task force formed in late 2019 tested several work zone safety innovations and tested them during the 2020 construction season. Based on the positive results from those tests, the Indiana DOT will deploy three of those solutions in work zones this year:
- Queue Trucks equipped with high visibility warning lights and portable message boards warn motorists of slow or stopped traffic as they approach roadway work zones.
- Automated Queue Warning Systems are “intelligent systems” that combine roadside speed sensors and portable changeable message signs. The system’s customizable speed threshold more accurately detects queued traffic, relaying that information to portable and responsive message signs to transmit warning messages to drivers upstream of the work zone.
- Haas Alert Systems send real-time digital alerts to Waze when first responders or construction crews are on-scene with emergency lights activated. Motorists receiving these notifications have more time to slow down and/or move over.