“You could feel the impact of the car hitting the barrier wall. They hit the wall within five feet of where we had been,” Vincent Grier, a highway worker with the Kansas Department of Transportation, told a crowd at a statewide safety event on April 24.
Grier recounted the time a motorist drove through a work zone on Interstate 70, nearly hitting him and a co-worker.
“I heard screeching, and there was a car coming right at us in our cone-off lane,” Grier said. “The only place to go was either out into traffic or jump over the wall.”
It was only one of several similar stories Grier shared about close calls in work zones. Grier was joined at the event by Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King and Kansas Highway Patrol Superintendent Ernest Garcia.
The safety event was one of several activities taking place in Kansas as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 23-27, which is an effort to raise awareness of the hazards and dangers highway workers face every day.
The danger isn’t just an issue for highway workers.
“Work zones can be very dangerous for highway workers, but statistics show that nearly 90 percent of the time, it’s the motorists who are injured or killed,” King said.
Last year in Kansas work zones, 566 people were injured and 11 people were killed.