Operation Yellow Jacket Stings Highway Speeders

Posted January 30, 2007 12:56 p.m. EST
Updated January 30, 2007 6:20 p.m. EST

— North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers were writing tickets practically every minute Tuesday afternoon as part of an effort to crack down on speeding through highway construction zones.

Troopers taking part in Operation Yellow Jacket set up on U.S. Highway 1/64 in Cary and on Interstate 40 near U.S. Highway 70 along the Wake-Johnston county line. They used hand-held radar to identify speeders and motorcycles and unmarked and marked cruisers to chase after and cite offenders.

In their first 35 minutes on U.S. 1/64, troopers said they issued 34 tickets. Most of those cited were driving between 70 and 80 mph through the 55 mph zone, although one driver was ticketed for driving 96 mph along the stretch of highway.

"It's clearly marked that it's a work zone, but we still get ridiculously high speeds out here," Trooper Curtis Manning said. "Everybody's in a hurry nowadays, and I guess it's more important to get home quickly than to get home safely. I really don't understand the speeds."

Operation Yellow Jacket refers to the brightly colored state Department of Transportation crews who often have to work around speeding drivers. The U.S. 1/64 widening project is mostly finished, but there are still daily lane closures.

"I think it's a good idea. It keeps the construction workers who are working out there safe," driver Scott Baker said. "I'd hate it if I was on the receiving end of a ticket, but I can understand all this."

A ticket for speeding though a construction zone carries a $250 fine and $110 in court costs.