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In regards to safety, when we worked around paving operations, we were pretty much walking on the left side of the paver, shuttle buggy/material transfer device and dump trucks. This was the most convenient place to walk simply because the drivers were always on the left side (the paver was the exception). As a result of this, we were almost always walking in the lane that the passing traffic was in, from motorcycles to semi trucks. Some of this traffic would pass by as close as 6" away from us and at speeds in excess of 45 mph. Our only protection consisted of the safety vests and the traffic cones. The cones were 200' apart, so that was not much protection and the vests were no better.
One of the road projects that I travelled through daily was in Decatur, Alabama. A bridge over some railroad tracks was being replaced because the new bridge would be longer. This would allow the railroad to add an extra track under the bridge. When the southbound lanes were closed off for the work to begin, channelizing drums were placed to guide the traffic through the work zone. Once in that, concrete barriers were placed to further enhance the safety of the workers. Last, the speed limit was dropped to 25mph. Aside from this, there was also a grass median that separated the traffic from the closed lanes ands the area between the bridges consisted of a gap around 30' wide.
All of those precautions to protect the workers was good, and yet the paving jobs that I worked on never had that kind of luxury. Remember, our protection was the vests we wore and the traffic cones spaced every 200' apart and we are walking in the lane that the traffic is in! There were many times when traffic forced us to get on the paver so that it could pass by. In all of the years that I did this job, I am constantly amazed that we only had two people get hit by the right side mirror. This resulted in knocking the person several feet away, fortunately with nothing more than a bruise, but it could have killed someone. We did lose one employee when a schizophrenic woman got a set of car keys and she drove down the open lanes of a 4-lane highway, hit the brakes and spun around, then hit the accelerator. This action, while not intentional to my knowledge, resulted in her car going off the road and into a culvert that was being built. Several people from the contractor saw her coming and jumped out of the way. The only state employee there was facing the wrong direction and died because of that. This was several years ago and I mentioned it before.
After that accident, the state had concrete barriers placed along the road for protection. One of the things that Alabama requires, and I assume most other states as well, is for traffic to change lanes or slow down when they are approaching emergency vehicles in or next to the road. The TV commercials never mention road workers, which I think is a serious mistake. Anytime we approach someone riding a bicycle, changing a flat or working on their vehicle on the side of the road, emergency vehicles at an accident, fire, etc. and road workers, this should apply.