Category: Work Zone
December 11, 2023
Safety is at the core of all we do. But we can’t do it all. At the Iowa DOT, we are part of a larger community of first responders. For all of us to be safer when responding to a crash or other incident on the road, we all need to work from the same playbook. The Federal Highway Administration designed a standardized training program for all roadway first responders including firefighters, emergency medical personnel, law enforcement, and towing companies. All Iowa DOT field forces go through this training and our Traffic Operations Bureau has a hand in training other responders statewide.
April 20, 2023
When something unexpected like a traffic crash happens, getting first responders to the scene to treat you if you’re injured is the first priority. While this is happening, law enforcement and other first responders, including the Iowa Department of Transportation, are completing investigations and doing whatever they can to get the road cleared so traffic can get moving normally again.
April 11, 2023
Whenever there is a crash, tensions can run high for everyone involved. With “Safety First” and “People Matter” as two of our core values, doing whatever we can to relieve some of that tension is a high priority.
No one likes to sit in traffic waiting for lanes to be cleared after a crash. Not only is it annoying, but it can also be very dangerous. Jim Armstrong, an engineer in our Systems Operations Division quotes a national statistic that for every minute a lane is closed and traffic backs up, the risk of a second crash in the same area goes up 2.8 percent.
October 28, 2022
Chances are if you spend much time driving, you’ve come up on a line of traffic that is stopped or slowed down due to road construction. These lines or “queues” as traffic safety professionals call them, put drivers at a high risk of rear-end crashes if they’re not paying close attention to what is up ahead. This construction season the Iowa DOT explored additional technology that can provide drivers with more detailed information about stopped or slow traffic ahead.
October 26, 2022
Highway maintenance workers will tell you, to work along the road, you must keep a constant eye on both the work you are doing and the traffic moving around you. But splitting your concentration isn’t ideal and it can be dangerous.
As part of the Iowa DOT’s Business Plan, a one-year objective for 2022 seeks to “Improve Work Zone Safety.” One element of that objective is focused on helping motorists better see work zones, theoretically helping them avoid crashes in work areas. With the 2020 deaths of two of our employees, Lynn Roder and Jeff Arbogast, fresh in our hearts and minds, this objective has become even more urgent.
October 25, 2022
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a trip to visit family and friends, having the best information about your route will help you have a safer, quicker, and less stressful journey. While winter is coming, the Iowa Department of Transportation and our construction partners will still have many active work zones as long as the weather holds. These work zones and associated delays can sometimes put a kink in your travel plans if you’re not prepared for them.
October 24, 2022
Making sure you are paying attention when you’re driving near those working on the road is essential to helping you avoid a crash and keeping everyone in the area safe, the main priority of the Iowa Department of Transportation. Last year we told you about a program that added a loud noise to a piece of equipment known as an attenuator. An attenuator is typically a trailer pulled by a large truck. Their purpose is to block oncoming traffic from entering a work zone and they are designed to take a hit instead of a worker if a driver happens to not be paying attention. While we’ve seen success with adding sound to this equipment, the next step to keeping you safer on the road is to automate the triggering of the noise.
September 20, 2022
If you’re a parent of more than one child, you know a thing or two about how to reduce conflict. Some sage advice includes separating the conflicting items (in this instance, children) to give them time to think about what to do next, potentially reducing the risk of injury.
It’s really not so different with drivers approaching an at-grade intersection on a four-lane highway. The more you can separate the drivers and give them time to think about what’s next, the fewer conflicts or crashes will happen and the severity of the conflicts that do happen is reduced.
That’s exactly what is going on right now on U.S. 20 at Poplar Avenue near Fort Dodge. A new “reduced-conflict” intersection was opened recently with the goal of seeing fewer crashes and injuries at an intersection that may be getting much busier soon with the opening of a travel plaza.
September 2, 2022
You’ve likely heard the adage that Iowa has two seasons, winter and construction. Iowa has nearly 115,000 miles of roads and 24,325 bridges across the state that need maintenance and care to get you where you need to go safely and efficiently.
Each day there are hundreds of active work zones, where our family members, friends, and neighbors are hard at work to improve these roads and bridges. They are trained to work in the safest way possible, but are still vulnerable to the dangers of working next to moving traffic. There are a few things you can do to make sure every one of these dedicated workers makes it home at the end of each shift.
June 21, 2022
Even someone with nerves of steel can get a little rattled working on the road just feet from speeding traffic. Our Iowa DOTers work in many different types of work zones with both construction and maintenance projects. Depending on the work to be done, the work zone setups can differ, but many of the same safety measures can be implemented to help both our workers and the drivers on the road get home safely at the end of the day.