LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41)-- Highway construction causes thousands of deaths each year, some happen right here in Kentucky. But the Kentucky State Highway Department wants that to change.

The three and a half feet of an orange barrel is all the separates high construction workers from cars, SUVs and semi-trailers.

"The scariest part is when the 18 wheelers run through here. I tell you that's when my heart skips a beat," said William Nolan, Project Engineer, KY. Transportation Cabinet.

One person was killed and 116 others were hurt last year along Kentucky's highways and interstates. That's why the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is kicking off a public safety campaign to highlight the dangers and urge people to drive safely as road construction is expected to pick up as the summer months approach.

A section of the Gene Synder Freeway is expected to be completed this weekend.

"We'll be going through, pulling out failing slabs that are cracked or have failures in them, we'll be removing those slabs, putting new concrete back and making sure the roadway stays in good condition," said Nolan.

Nolan says drivers simply need to pay more attention to their surroundings and less attention to what construction workers are doing.

"One of the biggest challenges we have is to make sure everybody is safe. As you can see behind you we have traffic traveling right beside them. Those barrels leave a 3.5 foot print," said Nolan.

He says driver inattention is often what leads to accidents, placing his crew members in danger.

"It's kind of up to the motorists to slow down and take it easy and pay attention when they are in these work zones," said Matt Bullock, District Engineer, KY. Transportation Cabinet.

Across the country, someone is killed every 13 hours and injured every 13 minutes in construction work zones.