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         Sunday, March 26, 2017

Do I have to slow to 60 km in a work zone, if workers are not present?
Yes. If the sign says Maximum 60, then you must stay under 60 km. There may be cases where there are hazards in the work zone such as a sharp pavement drop, loose stones or other hazards, that warrant keeping your speed at 60 km.

What changes have been made in the work zone?
New simplified signage - When a driver first encounters the highway work zone they will see an orange sign with a black image of a worker on it and a tab warning – “Workers Present” up ahead. This will be followed by a regulatory black and white speed sign of 60 km/h – and at this point the driver must legally slow to 60 km/h. A driver will know they are at the end of a work area when they see an "end of work area" sign and a black-and-white regulatory sign indicating the driver can resume to maximum speed.

Training for Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure staff and contractors on implementing the new signing plan – Information is being distributed and training sessions are taking place throughout the province for both Ministry staff and contractors to ensure they are complying with the new regulations. 

Heavier fines for drivers caught speeding in the work zone – Increased fines were introduced in November 2012. Previously, fines started at $140 and increased by $2-$4 for every km/h over the speed limit. Now, the base fine will be $210 and will increase by $3 for every kilometer over the speed limit, up to a speed of 90km/h, and $6 for every kilometre over 90 km/h.  For a driver who speeds through a work zone at 70 km/h, this would result in a total fine of $300. 

Rumble strips and gates – These tools alert the driver that they are entering a work zone. They were implemented in the fall of 2012 and will be placed on major construction projects on the province’s busiest highways. The devices are intended to improve driver awareness and attention in work zones.

Photo radar – Photo radar will be installed randomly within the work zones on major construction projects on the province’s busiest highways to ensure speed limits are being enforced. 

Enhanced enforcement – The Ministry's own transport compliance officers will augment photo radar and the efforts of the RCMP by conducting enforcement in work zones. 

How did these changes come about? 
Shortly after the death of Ashley Richards, a flag person who was struck and killed in a work zone on Highway 39 near Weyburn in August 2012, the Premier directed the Minister of Highways and Infrastructure as well as the Minister responsible for SGI and the Attorney General to come up with recommendations to improve safety in work zones. 

The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure continues to work collaboratively with the Ministry of Justice, SGI, RCMP and Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association to improve each of these safety measures.

What will contractors/workers have to do to implement this? 
Information has been distributed and training sessions have taken place throughout the province. The Ministry is working closely with the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association, the Saskatchewan Safety Council, and the Saskatchewan Centre of Excellence for Transportation and Infrastructure to deliver training to contractors, consultants and MHI staff. All cntractors and MHI staff have been told this plan must be enforced. 

Is there a way to report work zone signing problems?
Yes. The number to report these problems is 306-244-5535. 

What are the penalties if a contractor doesn’t comply with the new rules? 
First offense – written warning
Second offense - $5,000 penalty
Third offense - $10,000 penalty (max)
The $10,000 penalty could be re-issued for repeat offenders. 

How long is a typical work zone? 
The vast majority of work zones are 3-5 km in length. The length depends on the type of work and the number of operations occurring at any one time. 

Will every work zone look the same now? 
Not exactly the same. Every work zone will have the same two signs at the beginning and at the end. The goal is to make it crystal clear when the driver needs to slow to 60 km, and when they can speed back up again. However, other signs may be present depending on the type of work and hazards that could be present such as fresh oil, local detours, etc. In some instances we will need to post additional regulatory speed signs that take the driver’s speed down gradually – from 100 km to 80 km to 60 km. Some projects will require message boards that provide added guidance. The signage in a work zone is specific to the type of work, location and unique traffic accommodation needs. 

How will gates improve safety in work zones? 
The gates will be positioned in advance of work zones from both directions.  They create a narrower driving environment.  The natural response to this on the part of motorists is to slow down and/or become more aware of their surroundings.  In addition, these gates are large and highly visible, improving the signage leading into and exiting work zones. 

How will rumble strips improve safety? 
Rumble strips cause obvious vibration and audible rumbling that alert drivers to potential hazards.   They have proven to be effective at reducing accidents due to inattention.  They work in the same manner as the shoulder rumble strips that are on some of our busiest highways. 

Where will these devices be used? 
These new safety devices will be in use on National Highway System routes and higher volume highways - for example, Highway 1, Highway 16, Highway 6 and 39, etc. Note: the duration of work must be longer than 24 hours for these devices to be used. In addition, any contractor or MHI work crew can choose to use these devices on any project to increase safety in the work zone. The Premier asked the public for input. 

Did you receive any suggestions from the public and what did you do with their suggestions?
 
We received 100 or so suggestions from the public and these were considered.  The most common suggestions received include:

  • More enforcement
  • Higher fines
  • Reducing confusion in the orange zone, and
  • Doing a better job of advertising the fines at the entrance to work zones.

PHOTO SPEED ENFORCEMENT

More information about photo speed enforcement technology, fines and other legal concerns can be found here



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