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Watch for Springtime Work Zones

Some of the big projects across the Washington region are moving into highly visible phases as the weather warms. Along Route 123 and Route 7 in Tysons, drivers will see more of the HOT lanes and the Metrorail extension projects. In Maryland, work is well underway on the Intercounty Connector, and Interstate 95 traffic seems to slow as it enters the slight lane shifts in that work area. In the District, drivers are slowed to a crawl by the reconstruction of Benning Road.

Everywhere, crews are out filling potholes and rebuilding sidewalks. The smaller jobs often leave the workers more vulnerable to traffic, because they aren't protected by concrete barriers.

The District Department of Transportation, noting that this is National Work Zone Awareness Week, says drivers will soon see signs on the main roads and bridges into the District and on approaches to road projects to make sure they know fines double in work zones, as is the case most everywhere.

Meanwhile, in Maryland, the General Assembly continues to work on a bill backed by Gov. Martin O'Malley that would allow speed enforcement cameras in road work zones, as well as in school zones. It's important to make sure the bill emphasizes safety rather than revenue enhancement, but the concept is sound.

About a thousand people a year are killed in the nation's work zones, and most of them are motorists. Rapid use of the federal stimulus money on road maintenance projects means we'll see a lot more of those work zones this year.

Maryland offers drivers some good advice in its Choose Safety for Life campaign. See also Virginia's tips on how to Give 'em a Brake.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 8, 2009; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  Driving  
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