Thursday, June 24, 2010

Construction Zone Safety

The City of Calgary is asking Calgarians to limit their speed, especially in construction zones. While having to slow down may mean a couple of extra minutes on your commute, it’s necessary in order to keep City workers safe.

So why does it seem like there’s always construction on Calgary’s streets?

It’s partially because of the size of the job - The City maintains over 15,000 kilometres of road. Underneath those roads our water utility pipes, if placed end to end, could stretch as far as Santiago, Chile.
Every spring and summer Water Services replaces around 8 kilometres of water pipes.

“When you see our crews, keep in mind they are playing a big part in making sure your water service is reliable,” says Michelle Mueller with The City’s Water Services.

In the 1980s, there were around 1,800 water main breaks a year but through aggressive prevention measures, like water main replacements, Calgary now averages between 300 and 400 water main breaks a year – one of the lowest water main break rates in North America.

“Maintaining the pipe infrastructure ensures that people have reliable water service year round,” says Mueller.

City crews make sure that Calgary’s infrastructure is efficient and updated – an important and often thankless job that puts them at risk every day.

Every year, people are injured or killed in construction related collisions.

The City is urging motorists to slow down, be alert and most of all, be patient when driving through a construction zone.

“They’re out there fixing our roads,” says Stephen Tauro with The City’s Transportation Department. “Our crews need a safe work environment, just like anyone else. This is their office.”

According to Tauro, there can be a lot of distractions on the roadway, especially in construction zones.

“The lanes could veer or narrow. Driving at an unsafe speed for the road condition, even when not in a construction zone, can be hazardous.”

Tauro believes that Calgarians are naturally inclined to look out for each others’ well-being, but reminds people to be patient and courteous to other drivers.

“For example, alternate traffic when there’s a lane-drop so that everyone can get to where they’re going.”

And above all, keep your cool. There are people under those hard hats. Help keep them safe while they work.

For current information about road closures and detours, visit calgary.ca/trafficinfo.

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