Local News

Work Zone Violations Costly In Time, Money

Posted September 1, 2004 10:33 a.m. EDT

— Most people do not purposely ignore detour signs and drive through road construction barrels, but sometimes work zones are confusing.

Whether on purpose or by accident, drivers ignoring detours are a big problem for the state's Department of Transportation. While it can cost road crews time, it could cost violators a lot of money.

Crews put the final touches on a fresh layer of concrete in the Interstate 40 construction zone, but it was the second time the crew had to pave the new ramp from I-40 to Highway 55.

"This lady was trying to access that ramp and she was not going to go the detour route. She came behind the barrels and she drove right through the fresh concrete," DOT engineer Phillip Johnson said.

DOT workers say the woman drove through the wet concrete and drove away. Durham police charged her with damage to state property; the contractor is suing for $60,000.

"Things like this can cause a significant delay when we're trying to open these ramps as soon as possible," Johnson said.

The Highway 55 incident is not isolated. The DOT says at least three other drivers wiped out fresh concrete in the I-40 work zone in the last two weeks.

A lot of people say it is a no brainer-- it is obvious that the ramps are blocked off, but put yourself in the driver's seat and sometimes people get confused.

The DOT says the solution is simple: Do not drive through any barrels in the work zone.

Most concrete paving happens at night and, accordign to the DOT, most violators drive through work zones at night.