KYTC urges drivers to put cell phones down - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KYTC urges drivers to put cell phones down

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Put your cell phones down and keep both hands on the steering wheel:  That's the message from construction crews and Kentucky highway officials. 

This is National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week and road crews are using it to bring attention to safety concerns around one of the biggest construction projects in the state.

"A few close calls, I've been here roughly a year, I can count on both hands, there have been a lot of close calls, yes," said construction flagger Engua Kuku.

Kuku and Vincent Groves are flaggers for the Downtown Crossing portion of The Ohio River Bridges project, and they have seen it all out there.

"Skid marks, people just not paying attention, cell phones, eating -- just numerous things," Kuku explained.

"Basically every day is dangerous because you don't know what's on the minds of these drivers," said Groves.

That's why The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Walsh Construction are using National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week to remind drivers to pay attention and slow down in work zones.

"You can recover if there's something that's ahead of you that you're not use to, you can recover and not cause a problem if you're only going 45," said communications project manager Max Rowland.

Crews even built a temporary bridge on I-71 south; seems like a lot of work, but it was necessary.

"It's one of the things that we got to do to maintain the traffic, to be able to have the two lanes all the time in each direction," Rowland said.

Crews have also tried to put some distance between workers and cars. 

"Whenever we can, we put up the concrete barriers and our workers stay behind the concrete barriers, where it's safe," said Rowland.

But again, drivers can provide the best protection.  

"The traffic flow is not really an issue, it's just more people not paying attention," Kuku said.

So whenever possible, Groves says he communicates that message to motorists. 

"Sometimes I can say something to drivers like please pay attention because, you know, your life is on the line."

Construction crews will take this coming weekend off because of the amount of traffic expected for Thunder Over Louisville.

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