LIMA — With tractor-trailers, buses and passenger vehicles zipping by, the life of a construction worker in an interstate work zone can be measured in inches. A miscalculation by the worker or a mistake or inattentiveness of a driver could lead to serious injury or death.That's why officials are urging motorists to slow down and be alert when traveling through the zones. State transportation and safety officials gathered Tuesday at an Interstate 75 work zone above state Route 65 in Lima to illustrate the point.“The biggest thing I could say as far as work zone safety, if we could just get the traveling public to slow down,” said Mark Vandmark, a crew leader with the Ohio Department of Transportation. “Four lane versus two lane naturally the speed limit's higher but in this instance it just seems like they don't want to slow down. They are in a hurry to get where they're going.”“Don't barrel through work zones.” That's the safety message for National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week that runs through Friday. It's an even more important topic with the seasonal construction season gearing up and with the three-year construction project on Interstate 75 through Allen County kicking off this year, officials said.“Our main goal is for the safety of the workers in the zone,” said Lt. Brant Zemelka, commander of the Lima post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “It's hard for them to always watch their backs when they're doing the work on the roadway so it's up to the motorist to hey, you see the work zone, slow down to the suggested speed of 55 mph and give yourself some distance between the car in front of you.”Last year, there were 132 work-zone crashes in the eight counties served by the ODOT District 1 in Lima, up from 81 the previous year. Studies have shown of the more than 5,000 work zone crashes annually in Ohio, nearly one-third are from drivers following too closely.Danny Faulder, a highway technician II with ODOT, said it can be nerve-wracking with traffic speeding by so quickly.“It can be monotonous and hazardous especially the closer we get to the line the worse it is. They're not required to slow down and we have to do our job,” Faulder said. “When a semi truck is going past at 75 mph two feet away from you it can be nerve-wracking. We all watch each other's backs.”
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.