COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Transportation has introduced new technology to work areas in an effort to make them safer for workers and drivers.
ODOT has implemented additional safety measures along I-70, I-71 and Route 315 as construction continues in downtown Columbus.
ODOT added queue detection systems along SR 315 south and I-70 east to alert drivers to slow traffic ahead and to deal with potential backups. The system includes sensors along the road that detect the speed of traffic and relay the information to digital billboards.
The signs let drivers know their speed in real time, which will allow them to slow down and avoid rear-end collisions.
“We are constantly looking for ways to make our work areas safer. This added protection is not only important for the crews doing the work, but also for every Ohioan behind the wheel,” said Anthony Turowski, assistant manager of the ‘ODOT District 6. “With a project of this scale, it is important to think outside the box. These innovative tools allow us to effectively and quickly communicate real-time information to help drivers make better decisions while on the move. in this area.”
ODOT also uses flashing signs at construction exits to alert drivers when a vehicle is leaving the work area. Trucks leaving work zones travel at lower speeds while merging with the freeway and ODOT hopes the signs will help drivers avoid collisions.
ODOT already uses variable speed limit signs that flash with a reduced speed limit when workers are present.
“While these devices certainly improve safety, nothing is more effective than an attentive driver. When you see work ahead of you, you need to slow down, stay focused on the road and keep your hands on the wheel,” said Turowski.
Last year, Ohio recorded nearly 4,800 work area accidents, 35% of which occurred in the presence of workers. These accidents resulted in 1,759 injuries and 29 deaths, making 2021 one of the deadliest years for work zones in recent history.