NEWS RELEASE

SHA DEPLOYS SAFEZONES AUTOMATED SPEED ENFORCEMENT ALONG I-70 IN WASHINGTON COUNTY

Warning Period Begins Wednesday, November 7; Citations Begin on November 28

(November 5, 2012) – In an ongoing effort to improve work zone safety, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will deploy the SafeZones Automated Speed Enforcement system along both eastbound and westbound I-70 in Washington County as part of the bridge replacement over Conococheague Creek, west of Hagerstown. This is the first time the SafeZones program has been placed in a Washington County work zone. 

Maryland SafeZones automated speed enforcement (ASE) cameras will be deployed on I-70 at Conococheague Creek – between the exits for MD 63 (Greencastle Pike) and MD 68 (Clear Spring Road) – beginning Wednesday, November 7. A 21-day warning period will follow, and citations will be issued starting Wednesday, November 28. The speed limit in the work zone will be reduced to 55 mph. Drivers excessively speeding by 12 or miles over the speed limit, or 67 mph or more, face a $40 civil citation.

“Work zones present dangerous conditions and challenges that require concentration and slower speeds,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “Considering four out of five people injured or killed in work zone crashes are vehicle occupants, not workers, it benefits everyone to obey work zone speed limits.” 
 
Maryland SafeZones joins SHA, Maryland State Police (MSP) and Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MdTA) in the statewide effort to improve highway safety. Mobile enforcement vehicles rotate among eligible work zones in controlled access highways with posted speed limits of 45 mph or higher. Large signs are in place in advance of the work zones to alert drivers of automated speed enforcement use. Crews also placed a “speed trailer” to display the posted speed limit and drivers’ speeds in advance of the enforcement vehicle.

Since SafeZones official launched in 2010, speeding violations in automated speed enforced work zones have decreased by more than 80 percent. Additionally work zone-related crashes, fatalities and injuries are at a more than 10-year low according to 2011 crash data. ASE is currently deployed in 10 other work zones in the State. For more information, please visit www.safezones.maryland.gov.  

The $16.5 million I-70 bridge over Conococheague Creek rehabilitation project is part of SHA’s bridge preservation and replacement program. The dual bridge, constructed in 1965, is safe for the traveling public, but is showing signs of deterioration. The two-year-long rehabilitation will extend its “life” by an additional 30 to 50 years. SHA is widening each side of the existing bridge by 21 feet to include inner shoulders. This will give motorists space to pull over during emergencies and allow room for the potential future addition of a third lane.

Later this year, SHA will begin a similar project to replace the I-70 bridge over MD 63, approximately one mile east of the Conococheage Creek bridge. As that project progresses, the SafeZones automated speed enforcement area will be extended to include the work zones for both bridges. The date for the extension is dependent on the contractor’s schedule and has not been set.

While SHA and its partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to actively modify his or her driving style to help prevent crashes. Stay alert – look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers. Slow down and don't follow too closely. Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For everyone!

Maryland now features FREE 511 traveler information! Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit www.md511.org  for current travel information. Sign up to personalize travel route information through MY511 on the website. Remember to use 511 safely – Maryland law prohibits hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving.

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