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As construction season gears up, a reminder to take it slow in work zones

Tim Shelley
Work on the McClugage Bridge seen in a 2021 file photo. Preparations for demolishing the eastbound span and constructing a new span of the bridge continue this year. The project is expected to wrap up in fall 2023.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding motorists to slow down and stay alert in work zones as construction season ramps up.

At a press conference Tuesday at the IDOT garage on Detweiller Drive in Peoria, Illinois State Police Trooper Haylie Polistina reminded drivers to obey Scott's Law by slowing down and moving over to another lane when an officer pulls someone over along the side of the roadway.

"To date, our agency has had 10 squad cars struck as a result of Scott's Law violations. And it is only April," she said. "In 2021, there were 22 Scott's Law related crashes."

Polistina said the state police will be enforcing speed limits and the rules of the road in construction zones this spring. That includes radar-equipped photo vans able to capture the license plate numbers and faces of motorists driving over the posted limit.

The minimum fine for a first offense in a work zone is $250. A second fine leads to a $750 fine and a 90-day drivers' license suspension.

She said motorists should be prepared for lane closures, speed reductions, and the presence of workers in construction areas.

"A large majority of these crashes could be avoided if motorists were simply paying attention," she said.

Dane Simpson with the Great Plains Laborers and Employers Cooperation Education Trust echoed those sentiments.

"At 42 miles an hour, 50% of pedestrians survived the impact (in) a work zone. As that speed goes up, survival rates go down," he said. "We can't stress enough to pay attention to posted speed limits. Put your phones down. Watch for lane changes and obey signage."

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.