Orange pylons. Taking up lanes on our very crowded roads. It has been said that in Canada, we have two seasons: Winter and Construction. In the GTA and Toronto, we certainly see our share of construction. Every year, we can count on road repairs to slow down or close down parts of Yonge Street, Avenue Road, Bathurst Street…you get the point. Cottage-goers, starting Friday, April 29, 2011, road work is set to start on the 401…starting from Keele through Kipling in the Westbound Collector Lanes. This will reduce the number of lanes from 2 to 3 and affect anyone headed to cottage country via the 400. Apparently, the goal is to create an additional lane to the collectors through the Keele to Kipling stretch, but the work most likely won’t be finished until 2013. Let’s face it: construction is a necessary part of maintaining our roads. If we let our roads deteriorate, well, let’s just say our cars’ tires wouldn’t appreciate all the potholes and somehow those roads would just become bumpier and bumpier. (Our car rides would become even less pleasant). Now, road workers have taken a stand against speeding and distract drivers. The effort comes from Ontario Road Builders’ Association and LIUNA Local 183. Through the use of social media ie Twitter and Facebook, road workers are asking the public to be mindful of their safety. And why not? Ontario’s road workers have launched this new online safety campaign, that involves workers sharing their stories, family photos and experiences on Facebook and Twitter. This is a means of providing a personal appeal and hopefully encouraging driver awareness. The Toronto Sun published a noteworthy article on the issue. To read more, click here.
The Sun quoted Jeff Gill, a road construction foreman: “Raising public awareness is really our only protection,” Gill said. “All that’s standing between me and two tonnes of oncoming steel is a sign and a lot of nerve.”
There are more than 2,100 collisions on average each year in construction zones. We come to expect traffic during rush hour and have learned to plan for it. Construction causes extra traffic, but there are alternate routes, especially in a city like Toronto. Between the years 2000 and 2006, 2,800 construction workers were hurt in collisions in construction work zones situated on roadways. Over the past 7 years, 52 construction workers (road workers) were killed. So, what’s the rush? Are a few minutes saved, worth the cost of a life or serious injury?