SASKATOON – Fall is here and the City of Saskatoon already contemplating ideas to make the next construction season better. On Tuesday, officials announced they’re considering stricter measures to make work zones safer as they said workers continue to risk their lives dealing with unnecessary hazards on the job due to motorists.
“A close friend and colleague was killed in a work zone,” said Angela Gardiner, the city’s director of transportation.
“I still remember that time getting a phone call from my boss. No one should ever have to get a phone call like that and I don’t want to make that kind of a phone call to any of my employee’s families.”
Officials said they are receiving reports daily of motorists disrespecting construction zones. Besides drivers failing to reduce their speed, most issues arise from drivers ignoring ‘local access only’ signage and motorists moving traffic barriers.
Drivers have even been charged with no police present. Work site cameras and workers have been reporting licence plates when safety is compromised.
Next year, the city may shift gears by implementing immovable barriers and even full street closures around construction sites because of ongoing incidents.
Despite challenges, the city has seen improvement at short-term/moving sites. It attributed the success to better signage and more rigorous safety inspection requirements.
“We would also like to remind everyone that just because work doesn’t appear to be underway in a construction zone, it doesn’t mean it’s complete,” says Gardiner.
In June, the city launched its 2015 “Respect Work Zones” ad campaign to humanize workers and tackle close-call incidents.
Leena Latafat contributed to this story