Reminder of work zone safety after Rochester crashes

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ROCHESTER — Two Minnesota Department of Transportation vehicles have been struck by motorists in the past week, including a crash that occurred in a work zone on Monday afternoon.

The crashes serve as reminders to motorists of the importance of paying attention and following directions in work zones to ensure their own safety and that of the MnDOT workers.

No serious injuries have been reported, but both the motorists’ vehicles and MnDOT vehicles sustained damage that resulted in lost time and repair costs for everyone.

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The two crashes occurred Aug. 4 and Monday.

“It all happens so fast,” said Larry Waletzki, the MnDOT bridge supervisor whose crew was in the work zone removing concrete from a bridge deck on Highway 52 when the crash occurred Monday. “We’re thankful there were no injuries, but we really hope people see the work zone and realize they need to slow down and follow the directions.”

In the crash on Aug. 4, a MnDOT road painting crew was working on I-90 west of Highway 63 near the Stewartville exit. A westbound car struck the second support vehicle serving as a protection barrier on the highway behind the westbound painting crew. Minor injuries were reported.

On Aug. 11, a car in a work zone on Highway 52 in south Rochester struck a passing truck. The collision forced the truck into the work zone where crews were at work, striking an unoccupied MnDOT vehicle. No injuries were reported.

MnDOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations in work zones:

• Stay alert

• Watch for signs, equipment and workers

• Minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking

• Avoid tailgating

• Follow posted speed limits and directional signs

• Stay in one lane while driving through a work zone