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MDOT paints town orange for week

NATCHEZ — The Mississippi Department of Transportation had its cheerleaders out Monday shouting, “Go orange.”

Monday was the kick-off of National Work Zone Safety Awareness/Go Orange week, an effort to bring notice to construction work zones on roads and highways.

A reception was organized by MDOT and the Mississippi Development Authority and hosted by the Natchez Visitor Reception Center to remind drivers to be cautious when driving through work zones.

Barbara Mercier from the MDOT maintenance division said the purpose of the week is to help make work zones safer for workers and those traveling through work zones.

“It is our desire for people who see the work zones day after day to be careful and safe and realize it is a dangerous place to be for our workers and other drivers.”

Federal Highway Administration statistics show there is one work zone fatality every 10 hours and one work zone injury every 13 minutes.

Mercier said it is important for drivers to reduce speed and use caution when driving through any area marked off with the bright orange road cones and barrels.

“There is a lot of construction going on just in this area on 61 and 84,” Mercier said. “I find that if you drive through a work area regularly it becomes like that stop sign you just ease through, but our worker put their lives in danger to do this work and we should all take notice.”

Similar events were hosted at Mississippi welcome centers across the state.

MDOT Executive Director Larry “Butch” Brown said in a release the safety week is a good time to bring attention to an ongoing issue.

“As we approach National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, our goal should be to do everything we can to save lives,” he said. “In order to promote a safe workplace for our men and women across the nation who work diligently to maintain and construct a safe transportation network, we must join together and promote safe work zones.”

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