Alberta Transportation is now requiring contractors to cover up speed reduction signs in construction zones when there are no workers on site and if there are no safety concerns. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)

Relief for drivers in construction zones

Motorists in favour of change

Highway construction zones with no workers on the job will no longer slow down traffic.

Alberta Transportation is now requiring contractors to cover up speed reduction signs in construction zones when there are no workers on site and if there are no safety concerns.

Debbie Henderson, of Red Deer, said she does lots of highway driving and was glad to hear speed signs will be covered up when they aren’t necessary.

“Sometimes, you go through, and there’s nobody around, and yet you’re doing the reduced speed,” said Henderson, who was filling up at Costco in Gasoline Alley on Wednesday.

When there are signs and no workers around, it make some drivers impatient, she said.

“If (workers) are not going to be there for the day, cover it up. But if they’re there, and they have to go get equipment, leave it on,” Henderson said.

Carissa Notland, of Red Deer, said covering up the signs will clarify the situation for motorists.

“It’s just more confusion than anything else. I think it will be helpful,” said Notland about the new rule.

Aaron Mueller, of Red Deer, agreed covering up signs when they’re not necessary is a good idea.

Workers are still protected when they are on the job, and traffic can move faster when crews are not there, he said.

But he would also like to see more police on the highway to enforce speed limits in construction zones.

“Right now, even when people see RCMP on the side of the road stopped, they don’t slow down,” Mueller said.

Speeding fines will continue to be doubled when highway workers are present.

David Evans, of Rocky Mountain House, said he is cautious in construction zones in case there are hazards, such as a steep embankment along the edge of the road.

“I think it’s best to slow down in the zones anyways, just because you never know,” Evans said.

Other requirements in construction zones include:

  • More consistent use of road construction signage.
  • Limiting the distance of lane closures in construction zones; in most cases, to a maximum of three kilometres.
  • More gradual speed reductions through construction zones.
  • Longer distances for speed transition zones in advance of construction zones.
  • More frequent use of electronic speed displays and rumble strips to slow traffic at the actual construction site.

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