Construction season heats up - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Construction season heats up


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Now that the snow is gone from the freeway, travel times are looking good, but not for long, because the familiar road work ahead signs are dotting roadsides everywhere.

The merge, the single lane and the heavy equipment all signal one thing, road work.

"Because of changing lanes, shifting traffic, potential backups, construction equipment moving, barrels, there's a lot of distractions," says DOT Northwest Region director Don Gutkowski.

Among the things you should be looking out for this road construction season are bright orange cones, which designate lanes. 

Keep your eyes peeled for construction workers in bright safety vests because the highway is their workplace and we all want to keep it safe. 

Finally, don't forget to watch your speed because the state patrol will enforce work zones.

"The biggest thing is watch your speed and your following distance.  Following distance is so key in a work zone," says State Patrol sergeant Steven Tape.

If you choose not to follow the work zone speed limit, troopers have some incentive for you.

"The citations end up increasing by about $63 in a basic 1-15 mph over violation," says Tape.

The DOT is putting in the extra hours to keep the flow of cars and trucks moving on the interstate.

"One of the strategies is to do a lot of night work.  So there'll be a lot of activity at night, you'll see lane closures during the night time and a lot of lights going on and equipment moving," says Gutkowski.

The DOT also built temporary extra lanes to handle the summer travel season along the 130 miles of I-94 work zones.

"We have lots of work going on in different modes and fashions.  About $190 million worth of work," says Gutkowski.

With such a large investment in our infrastructure it's important to finish on time and you can help by being safe.

"We know traffic volumes are going to be heavier so we can react to crashes and try and clean them up and clear them out as quickly as possible so we don't delay the motoring public," says Tape.

Because in the end, a new interstate will get you from point A to point B quickly and safely.

In St. Croix County the DOT is using a first of it's kind approach to streamline construction by pre-casting concrete panels offsite and then assembling them on the interstate.

This summer there will also be freeway response teams to help stalled motorists and reduce traffic interruptions.

You can check the latest travel information in Wisconsin by dialing 511 or visiting the DOT website.

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