Work Zone Awareness Week kicks off across Wisconsin - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Work Zone Awareness Week kicks off across Wisconsin

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Even though spring weather isn't quite here yet, another season is soon on its way; construction season. And with that, comes some safety reminders. To help speed up sending the message to slow down, Governor Walker has declared this week as Work Zone Awareness Week.

"That's their workplace, that's their office. And so we always encourage drivers to slow down and be aware," said Captain Jeffrey Frenette of the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Construction workers often put their lives on the line as they step out on to heavily traveled roads to make repairs.

"These workers are out there every day trying to get the job done and they're working under live traffic. So vehicles are going by at high speeds within feet, maybe even inches of their workplace. So we encourage motorists to not only slow down, but be cognizant of that and be respectful and give some courtesy to our workers," Frenette said.

That is the message behind Work Zone Awareness Week, a proclamation by Governor Walker to bring attention to maintenance crews working on Wisconsin's roads. A new truck is also designed to keep lanes clear.

"One of the things that were doing this year in St. Croix County because of a major construction project on I-94 is implementing a freeway service team truck. And that unit will assist motorists that may have broke down in the zone or had a minor crash. They'll then pretty much be first responders to help mitigate some of those minor issues," Frenette explained.

Last year, there were nearly 1700 crashes in work zones that killed six people in Wisconsin work zones. Bess Crowley owns Crowley Construction in Wauwatosa, and hears plenty of feedback.

"Sometimes they will actually call me from a job, and say that the traffic is going too fast, that they would like me to see if some law enforcement can get out on the job. They've called and said that they've encountered angry drivers," Crowley said.

One of her workers was killed on the job fixing part of I-94 in Waukesha County; a tragedy she hopes will make others more alert as they drive by.

"We're building a road so that in the future, you have a better road and a safer route. And for this little bit of time that it is an inconvenience, look at those workers as is they were your family and drive around them as safely as possible," said Crowley.

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