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Highway work zone caution--slow down

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 6:13 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s a message we hear every year, but one that bears repeating.

And one worth the trouble of dragging members of the local media to the heart of the I80-I580 Spaghetti Bowl project to make.

Here with heavy traffic whizzing by just feet from construction workers, the setting itself makes the point. Safety is hard to guarantee in a work zone like this and it ultimately requires the cooperation and attention of all those drivers passing by.

All the orange cones and reduced speed signs can’t protect people from a speeding vehicle.

A couple of months ago, not too far from where we gathered, an out-of-control truck with an impaired driver nearly vaulted a concrete barrier.

“It came within six or eight feet of our employees,” says Mike Ochs, the Safety Director for Q & D Construction. “They were on the other side of the hard barricade, but he was going so fast he made it on top of the retaining wall.”

Those who spend much of their lives out here have stories of close calls like that and worse to tell. Speed is the common denominator in most of them and those that work to keep these work zones safe have heard a short list of excuses from those caught speeding.

“They didn’t see the speed limit sign or they were going just as fast as everybody else,” says Lt. Eddie Bowers of the Nevada Highway Patrol. “I’ve even heard people say other people were passing them.”

The Spaghetti Bowl is the big project in the area right now, but in the coming weeks and months there will be many more, large and small. The issue and the concern remain the same.

“The ultimate goal for us is to make sure our people go home at the end of the day,” says Ochs. “Everybody who works out here is a mother, father or brother or sister and somebody at home is waiting for them to come home.”

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