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Released: 3/1/2006 

DRPA Launches Public Awareness Campaign

DRPA today launched a public awareness campaign to enforce speed restrictions at construction zones on its four bridges, the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Betsy Ross and Commodore Barry. The campaign comes after an accident in January on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in which two vehicles struck both a DRPA truck and jeep in a construction zone. Several DRPA employees barely escaped injury. The public awareness campaign involves Variable Message Signs at each of the four bridges and Public Safety radar enforcement at DRPA work zones. The speed limit on the bridges is typically 45 mph, but at construction zones, speed is restricted to 35 mph. However, many motorists do not heed the speed restrictions. To enforce the speed restrictions and to make motorists aware of the dangers of speeding through a work zone on the bridges, DRPA's Public Safety officers will be ticketing motorists who exceed the speed restrictions over the bridges. Fines are doubled when motorists are ticketed for speeding in work zones. "We want to remind the public that there are men and women working on the bridges every day. They are somebody's father, husband, son, sister, daughter or mother working hard to maintain our bridges. Speed restrictions are put into place to protect our employees as well as the motoring public," said John J. Matheussen, DRPA's Chief Executive Officer. "Last month's accident was too much of a close call. It highlights the dangers that our employees face every day. We hope that this public awareness campaign will remind motorists to slow down and heed the posted speed limits so we can all do our part in ensuring a safe environment for those working and commuting across our bridges." DRPA offers these tips for safe driving through constructions zones from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration •In any work zone along any road, major or minor, Expect the Unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people and vehicles may be working on or near the road. •Diamond-shaped orange warning signs are posted in advance of road construction projects. Slow down. Be alert. Pay attention to the signs. •In addition to other warning signs, a "flagger ahead" warning sign may be posted in the work zone. When you see this, 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, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions. •Stay calm. Work zones aren't there to personally inconvenience you. They're necessary to improve the roads for everyone. •You may see flashing arrow panels or "lane closed ahead" signs. Merge as soon as possible. Don't zoom right up to the lane closure, then try to barge in - if everyone cooperates, traffic moves more efficiently. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by moving to the appropriate lane at first notice of an approaching work zone. •Slow down when the signs say to. A car traveling 60 mph travels 88 feet per second. If you're going 60 mph, and you pass a sign that says "Road Work 1500 feet" you'll be in that work zone in 17 seconds. •The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision, so remember to leave two-seconds of braking distance between you and the car in front of you. The amount of space required to provide two-seconds of stopping time will increase the faster you're driving. •Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers. Just like you, highway workers want to return home safely after each day's work. •Some work zones - like line painting, road patching, and mowing are mobile, moving down the road as the work is finished. Just because you don't see the workers immediately after you see the warning signs doesn't mean they're not out there. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says you've left the work zone. •Expect delays, plan for them and leave early to reach your destination on time. Highway agencies use many different and varying ways to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. Often, the agencies will suggest a detour to help you avoid the work-zone entirely. Plan ahead, and try an alternate route. The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation and development agency. DRPA owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross bridges, and the PATCO High Speed Line, the AmeriPort Intermodal Rail Center, the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier 1 and the RiverLink Ferry.

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