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OSP Joins ODOT Kicking Off Construction Season, Urge Awareness and Action During Summer Travels
Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
(503) 986-3438
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Link to video of Thursday's news conference - Oregon State Legislature Media Services
Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett, Oregon State Police Patrol Services Division Director Captain Mike Dingeman and Slayden Construction Group Vice President Larry Gescher urged motorists to be aware and take action to be safe this summer traveling season. At a May 26th news conference in Salem, Garrett spoke about the more than 120 work zones that will be active throughout the construction season, reminding motorists to focus on the complex task of driving.
"It's crucial that you pay attention to the task at hand: slow down in work zones and don't be distracted," Garrett said. "Drivers and passengers in vehicles are more likely to be injured or killed in work zone crashes than workers. Let's watch out for each other."
Captain Dingeman reminded motorists that law enforcement agencies will be working overtime during the Memorial Day weekend and other times this summer, looking for dangerous drivers.
"OSP troopers, county deputies and city police will be working overtime, emphasizing proper use of safety restraints and the importance of driving sober and at safe speeds," said Dingeman.
In the past two years, Oregon has achieved record levels of safety on the highways, but advocates agree even one death is too many. In both 2009 and 2010, more than 300 people died in motor vehicle-related crashes. Safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. While most Oregonians buckle up (97 percent in 2010), unbelted or improperly belted occupants are five times more likely to be ejected in a crash. Odds of surviving ejection from a motor vehicle are about one in four.

The good news, said Slayden Vice President Gescher, is that investments in transportation contribute to safer roads, as well as to a healthier economy. An estimated 6,900 jobs will be created or retained in 2011 as a direct result of transportation investment. In addition, these investments pour money into local communities through contractors, services and other purchases. So while construction on roads is visible, officials are quick to point out that "Oregon is open for business!"

Note: Although there are 180 projects, only 120 have work zones that may impact traffic.
STIP: Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (ODOT project workplan)
ARRA: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; Federal Stimulus
JTA: Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act 2009; HB 2001
At the news conference, officials distributed the Summer 2011 Construction Map, which will be available soon at DMV offices, Welcome Centers and ODOT offices around the state so motorists can be prepared. Travelers are also encouraged to "Know Before You Go." Check www.TripCheck.com for up-to-date road conditions, work zone information, incident alerts and other valuable information.