Roads may be crowded on 3-day weekend, check ahead
AMES — Since the Fourth of July holiday falls on a Friday this year, the Iowa Department of Transportation expects to see more travelers driving around the state.
Prior to traveling this holiday or summer, motorists are urged to visit 511ia.org for the latest traveler information on current projects that may affect travel plans.
Road construction information also is available by following IDOT on Twitter @iowadot or @statewideia511.
IDOT’s construction website, iowadot.gov/travel.html#/highwayconstruction, includes more complete information.
It includes details on major construction projects that will affect travelers across Iowa this season such as project detours and traffic impacts, costs, schedules, construction updates, contact information and an interactive map that includes current projects on Iowa’s interstate and state highways.
Driver behavior is the key to safety in work zones.
• Expect the unexpected in any work zone along any road. Speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people and equipment may be at work on or near the road.
• Slow down. Be alert. Pay attention to the signs. Diamond-shaped orange warning signs are generally posted in advance of road construction projects. Observe the posted signs.
• Watch out for flaggers. In addition to other warning signs, a “flagger ahead” warning sign may be posted in the work zone. Stay alert and be prepared to obey the flagger’s directions. In a work zone, a flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, meaning citations can be issued for disobeying a flagger’s directions.
• Merge as soon as possible. Do not zoom up to the point where the lane closes, then try to merge in. • Slow down when directed. A car traveling 60 mph travels 88 feet per second. If traveling at 60 mph and passing a sign that reads “Road Work 1,500 feet,” the driver will be in that work zone in 17 seconds.
• Don’t tailgate. The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision; remember to leave at least two seconds of braking distance between vehicles.
• Keep a safe distance between vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment, and workers.
• Work zones may be mobile. Some work zones – like line painting, road patching, shoulder repair, and mowing – are mobile and advance as the work is finished. Just because workers are not immediately visible after the warning sign does not mean they are not present in the area.
• Expect delays. Plan ahead and leave early to reach your destination on time.
Highway agencies use many different ways to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. Often, detours are suggested to help avoid the work zone entirely. Plan ahead and try an alternate route.