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INDOT urges safe driving through work zones

Michiana will see warmer temperatures this week and with it comes the beginning of construction season.

Beginning Wednesday, drivers should expect periodic 20 minute closures of US 20.

It’s happening between Pine Road and West Linwood boulevard, just west of the South Bend Airport.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is investing more than $850 million to begin work on 770 construction projects this year.  

The department is urging drivers to be aware of crews working on the roads.

“I think people take what they are driving on for granted. It takes a lot of work to keep these roads in good shape,” said INDOT Crew Leader Josh Batten.

Batten has seen the danger of his job first hand. He’s one of the lucky ones.

Just a couple months ago he and his crew were repairing a stretch of I-94 when they were nearly struck by a speeding vehicle.  

“It was pretty scary and luckily no one was hurt. I started thinking about my wife. I started thinking about my family and what they would go through if I wasn’t around anymore,” Batten said.

In 2015, 17 highway workers across Indiana were killed in work zone crashes.

700 others, including drivers and their passengers were injured.

“People just don’t pay attention anymore. It seems like they’re too distracted by things going on in their life,” explained Indiana State Police Sergeant Trent Smith.

Police urge drivers to think about the crews hard at work and the consequences of speeding and distracted driving while traveling through work zones.

“The average person has no idea what it feels like to stand on the side of the road and have an 80,000 pound truck or even a pick up or car driving past them 60 mph, two- three feet away. And that’s what we deal with and that’s what these INDOT workers and construction workers deal with on a daily basis,” said Smith.

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