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On the Road: Why isn’t roadwork just done at night?

By in Press Enterprise on November 5, 2017

By Amy Bentley

Q: K.R. McClelland asks why guardrails are being repaired when freeway traffic is busiest, leading workers to shut down a lane — especially on the 210 Freeway in an area with only two lanes. “Can’t they do this at night when traffic is lighter and use lights? It puts drivers in danger. Just recently I saw this near 5th Street on the 210 westbound, where traffic was backed up into Highland at noon,” he said.

A: Caltrans takes care of guardrail repairs and crews do not work at night for safety reasons, said Terri Kasinga, a spokeswoman for Caltrans District 8. She said District 8 has a Caltrans guardrail crew and maintenance repair contract crews. The contract crews’ work is planned, scheduled and inspected by a Caltrans supervisor, just like the regular guardrail crew. “We request closures in advance and every once in a while have an emergency closure during the day. We do not work at night unless it is an emergency,” Kasinga said.

She explained that Caltrans crews and the guardrail contractor crews work during the day because it’s riskier to work at night. “Our contractors for construction projects are the ones that typically work nights to lessen traffic impacts but again that safety risk is always there and many of them have accidents during the night work, either from someone driving into the work zone and hitting equipment or from DUIs. Unfortunately, the statistics show that it is typically the motorist or their passengers who are injured or killed when they enter a work zone,” Kasinga said.

Working on a freeway is dangerous. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2015 (the last year for which statistics are available), there were an estimated 96,626 crashes in work zones, an increase of 7.8 percent from 2014.

Q: Cyrus Pakzad asks why […]    

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