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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Contact: TaMara McCrae
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 39-02

USDOT to Hold Second "Making Work Zones Better" Workshop

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA) will make use of innovative strategies to reduce congestion and crashes in and around work zones at a "Making Work Zones Better" workshop on September 26 in College Park, MD.

"To keep America moving, we continuously need to make repairs and improvements on our roads," FHWA Administrator Mary E. Peters said. "At the same time, we must go beyond our traditional approaches to improve both safety and mobility in work zones. Our surveys tell us people want us to think differently about how we do construction projects. We are examining all the processes that lead up to a project so we can reduce travel time and improve work safety for motorists and workers."

Representatives from FHWA, MDSHA, other federal, state and local agencies, and law enforcement agencies will discuss advance technologies and identify the challenges being faced and solutions to assist them with making work zones work better for motorists and highway workers alike.

The increase in highway construction, maintenance and rehabilitation projects brings with it a need to make use of creative strategies to improve highway safety and mobility during construction and maintenance. The number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in work zones has increased to an all-time high of 1,026 in 2000 from 789 in 1995. Of that number, 84 percent were motor vehicle occupants. From 1980 to 1998, vehicle travel rose 72 percent while road miles increased only 1 percent. With 13 percent of the National Highway System under construction, studies show 24 percent of non-recurring congestion is from work zones.

This workshop is intended to bring a multidisciplinary approach to reducing congestion and crashes in and around work zones. Topics to be addressed include innovative contracting, traffic management, traveler information, worker safety and work zone strategies.

The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Inn and Conference Center at the University of Maryland University College, 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, MD. Additional workshops are being planned.

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