In case you want to see what can happen in a work zone crash, swing by the Washington State Department of Transportation’s maintenance facility, 4100 Main St.
There, on public display through July 8, is a barely recognizable pickup truck that crumpled like an aluminum beer can when a tractor-trailer plowed into it on state Highway 3 in Northwest Washington.
A WSDOT employee had climbed out of the pickup, which was parked on the road’s shoulder, less than a minute before the March 19 crash. The trucker suffered only minor injuries.
WSDOT is using the mangled truck to provide a powerful reminder to drivers as summer road construction season gets fully underway.
“It’s not a scare tactic,” Tamara Greenwell, a WSDOT spokeswoman, said Tuesday. “It’s a reality.”
Earlier this week, there was a crash in a WSDOT construction zone, which followed another crash over the weekend. Neither was in Clark County.
These crashes aren’t dangerous just for construction workers. Last year, 94 percent of Washington road construction fatalities and injuries were suffered by drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
The No. 1 cause for these crashes is distracted driving, followed by impaired driving and speeding.
“The number of people we see going through the work zone with their face in their lap and not on the road, it gets bigger every year,” Greenwell said.
People should use common sense when driving through work zones.
Stay alert and don’t fiddle with the stereo, talk on the phone or text. Don’t tailgate or change lanes erratically, and pay attention to construction signs and flaggers.
Slow down and obey the posted speed limit since fines can be double for infractions in work zones. Road construction can be hassle, but it’s not worth risking someone’s life, including your own.
“A little patience will go a long way in ensuring everyone gets home at the end of the day,” Greenwell said
WSDOT provides a mobile app, www.wsdot.wa.gov/inform/mobile.htm, so drivers can stay up to date about construction and traffic delays.
“One of the best ways not to get frustrated is plan before you go,” Greenwell said.
Here are some of the state’s biggest summer construction projects in Clark County:
• Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 pavement rehabilitation: Beginning in late July, crews will replace worn asphalt and concrete panels in both directions of I-205, between the I-205 Bridge and the freeway’s junction with I-5 in Salmon Creek.
Work also will be done on southbound I-5 between state Highway 502 near Battle Ground and the I-5/I-205 split. To minimize disruption, most construction and lane closures will be done at night. There also will be overnight ramp closures on I-205.
• State Highway 500 paving and expansion joints: Last fall, WSDOT removed traffic signals on Highway 500 intersections at Northeast Falk Road/42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road. Beginning in late July, crews will widen the Highway 500 ramps at those intersections as part of paving the highway between Burnt Bridge Creek, near St. John’s Boulevard, and Fourth Plain Boulevard.
Workers also will replace bridge expansion joints on the Highway 500 overpass over I-205 and update sidewalk ramps. This weather-sensitive work will require weekend closures of sections of Highway 500, as well as some lane and ramp closures.
• State Highway 14 paving: Crews will pave Highway 14 in both directions, from Southeast 164th Avenue in Vancouver to Northwest Sixth Avenue in Camas. Construction is expected to take a little more than a month, with most work and lane closures done at night. The on- and offramps at Southeast 192nd Avenue will close for overnight paving.
• State Highway 14 roundabouts in Washougal: Construction is underway to build two roundabouts, at Washougal River Road/15th Street and 32nd Street. Drivers should expect some closures and delays.