Work Zone Safety Awareness Week is usually in April, but because fewer drivers were out on the roads, officials decided to move it to this week instead. And because the Safer at Home order is lifted, traffic is expected to increase as we move forward.
During the month of April, ODOT says traffic counts were down about 50 percent because of the Safer at Home order. But as those orders are being lifted, ODOT is reminding drivers they need to stay safe as they head back out on the roads.
Corby Potts has been working for ODOT for 6 years now and, during his first year on the job, he witnessed an accident in a construction zone caused by distracted driving.
"It's scary sometimes, but it's a part of the job" said Potts. "There was a head on collision and it caused some injuries; luckily, everyone made it out alive."
Even though traffic counts are still down, more drivers are now hitting the roads. And ODOT says it's important for drivers to know projects have progressed while they've been home.
Kenna Mitchell with ODOT said "lanes might’ve shifted--different traffic configurations--so we want to make sure that drivers remember as they're getting back out that they still need to be safe as well."
Mitchell says even though there was less traffic out on the roads, some of that traffic was reckless.
Law Enforcement Agencies say they've seen an uptick in speeding and distracted driving.
So, that's why safety awareness weeks like this are crucial for ODOT.
"It just takes one person in a work zone that can cause a catastrophe in a matter of seconds" said Mitchell.
And safety is especially crucial for ODOT employees like Corby, who just want to go home.
"We're there to do our job, and we want to go home safely every day. And we want everyone who goes through our work zone to get home safely" said Potts.
ODOT has an option on their website where you can sign up for daily construction briefings if you travel a lot for work.