Clare Welcome Center Hosts National Work Zone Memorial

More than 1,600 people have been killed in road construction work zones. Most of them workers themselves.

This holiday weekend the Clare Welcome Center hosted a memorial to each one of them, a traveling wall keeping track of those who have died.Work Zone Memorial Pkg 7 4 2200 00 16 00still001

“We cannot afford to have the number of fatalities that we’ve seen on the roads,” said Jocelyn Garza, MDOT spokeswoman.

If you have stopped at the Welcome Center you have seen the steel statues, displayed out front and honoring the MDOT workers killed on the job. Over the holiday weekend, if you went inside you’d see the National Work Zone Memorial wall.

“It really helps to make people more aware that these are real lives that are impacted on a daily basis,” said Garza.

More than 1,600 names on the wall, not just workers but pedestrians, children and law enforcement.

“New work zones are going to pop up throughout the summer,” said Garza, “We will even see new work zones coming in September and sometimes October.”

MDOT says a vast majority of the deadly accidents are due to distracted driving.

“If they’re not paying attention, if they’re on their phone, playing with the radio anything like that it really takes your focus off what you should be doing the most which is focusing on the vehicle that you’re driving,” said Garza.

The wall as a reminder is even more important as more drivers take off on the highways this summer and face more construction than ever.

“They certainly should be continuing that behavior, now that there’s more vehicles they’re supposed to be sharing the road with and, of course, more construction,” said Garza.

Slowing down and staying attentive as drivers make their way around the barrels.

“We’re really trying to get a lot of projects done in a short amount of time,” said Garza, “We can’t afford to have vehicles driving recklessly.”