Automatic flagging device protecting workers at Saskatchewan construction zones

Saskatchewan Highways Minister Fred Bradshaw said automatic flagging assistance devices provide another measure of protection to highway workers. Supplied / Saskatchewan Government

A made-in-Saskatchewan solution is providing protection to highway workers.

The “Guardian Angel” was developed by Watrous-based Guardian Angel Auto Flagger Manufacturing to allow flag people to be off roadways while controlling traffic.

“We were determined to create a high quality, easy-to-use device that would eliminate the danger of collision with roadside flaggers and emergency crews,” the company’s marketing manager, Edward Anderson, said in a release Tuesday.

“Our goal is that all flaggers and emergency crews make it home to their families each night.”

Read more: Speeding in construction zones still an issue in Saskatchewan

It is currently in use at three locations in the province — the Moose Jaw, Outlook and Prince Albert areas.

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Highways Minister Fred Bradshaw said it provides another measure of protection to highway workers.

“Flag persons often have close calls with motorists who do not slow down or pay adequate attention while travelling through work zones,” Bradshaw said.

“Being able to take workers off the road and away from traffic helps negate the very real danger that is present every minute of each shift.”

The province said trailer-mounted or stand-alone automatic flagging assistance devices (AFAD) are used at larger construction sites, but are prohibitive to move due to their size and weight.

The truck-mounted AFAD is better suited for sites where patching or other maintenance work is taking place due to its mobility, officials said.

They added that the pilot project will be evaluated to determine the number of near misses and miscommunication, along with feedback from flag persons.

Read more: Impaired driving charges after car seen swerving through Saskatchewan work zone

SGI said drivers not following speed limits and flag persons remains a serious concern in the province.

In July, police issued 62 tickets to drivers speeding in work zones and another nine tickets for other construction zone infractions, including not following the directions of a flag person.

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One of the most egregious examples cited by SGI was a video of a car swerving through a work zone on Highway 16 near Maymont.

In that case, the driver was charged with impaired driving and dangerous driving.

Click to play video: 'Video captures driver speeding, swerving through a Saskatchewan construction zone'
Video captures driver speeding, swerving through a Saskatchewan construction zone

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