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State Patrol Highlight Work Zone Safety

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Construction season is in full swing. The superintendent of Wisconsin's state patrol wants to make sure this season is safer than last year's.

People who drive through Evansville might notice its historic homes, or nowadays, its construction.

"It's an inconvenience because it connects Madison and Janesville," Evansville police chief Scott McElroy says.

Part of state highway 14 is under construction.

"The detour is set and traffic is supposed to follow the detour," he says.

That's all in the interest of safety.

Wisconsin state patrol reports more than 1,600 work zone crashes last year.

"Of that we had 26 fatalities, including 839 injuries in those work zones. That's just way too many," State Patrol Supt. David Collins says.

All of those who died were motorists.

Transportation, police and county highway agencies called a news conference Thursday to highlight safety in work zones.

The highway commissioner for Fond du Lac County lost a worker in 2003.

Ernest Winters says, "it was caused by a driver not paying attention.

He left the traffic area and came into work zone at 50 mph and hit our employee."

Killing a man, a husband, a father to two grown children.

"Think of these people as being your friends, relatives, your father, daughter," Winters says.

In the meantime, police in Evansville also want people to think about following the rules.

Chief McElroy says, "The officers of this department will be monitoring the situation.

There will be traffic stops. There already have been traffic stops for those who have violated it."

The bottom line, pay attention or pay up.

"Let's make it personal. Slow down and be careful," Winters says.

Police say a ticket for failure to follow a sign or signal in a work zone averages more than $100 because fines double in work zones.


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