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PennDOT urges caution in work zones

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation crews continue work on the Interstate 81 bridge rehabilitation project between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport near Avoca and the Moosic exits.

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The nearly $3 billion worth of highway and bridge projects coming to Pennsylvania is expected to result in a record number of work zones, said Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Allen D. Biehler.

On Tuesday, state officials gathered at the construction site on Interstate 81 near Avoca to launch a new campaign that urges motorists to use more caution in these areas as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, which runs through Friday.

“Often in work zones, there is only a cone or barrel separating workers from traffic, while flaggers with our maintenance crews may not even have that visual barrier,” Biehler said.

“That’s why we ask motorists to obey posted speed limits and avoid all distractions.”

According to state law, motorists caught driving 11 mph or more above posted speed limits in work zones and who are involved in an accident will automatically lose their license for 15 days.

Fines for certain traffic violations, including speeding and driving under the influence, are also doubled if they occur in an active work zone.

As the construction season gets under way, drivers are reminded to pay close attention to flaggers.

They should also watch out for signs and maintain a safe distance around vehicles.

Also, use four-way flashers when stopped or traveling slowly.

Headlights should be turned on in accordance with signs in construction zones.

Driving without headlights turned on in a work zone can result in a $25 fine if a motorist is stopped and cited for another violation.

To learn more about PennDOT’s campaign, go to www.dot.pa.us/followthecone.

The site provides information about work zone safety and projects important to maintaining roads and bridges.

Visitors can also download a 30-second radio public service announcement about work zone safety.

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